Ecological Entomology: How Is Gibson’s Framework Useful?

  • Berger Dauxère Aimie
  • Serres Julien
  • Montagne Gilles

  • Optic flow
  • Ecological approach
  • Perception and action
  • Low- and high order variables


To date, numerous studies have demonstrated the fundamental role played by optic flow in the control of goal-directed displacement tasks in insects. Optic flow was first introduced by Gibson as part of their ecological approach to perception and action. While this theoretical approach (as a whole) has been demonstrated to be particularly suitable for the study of goal-directed displacements in humans, its usefulness in carrying out entomological field studies remains to be established. In this review we would like to demonstrate that the ecological approach to perception and action could be relevant for the entomologist community in their future investigations. This approach could provide a conceptual and methodological framework for the community in order to: (i) take a critical look at the research carried out to date, (ii) develop rigorous and innovative experimental protocols, and (iii) define scientific issues that push the boundaries of the current scientific field. After a concise literature review about the perceptual control of displacement in insects, we will present the framework proposed by Gibson and suggest its added value for carrying out research in the field of behavioral ecology in insects.