Chaotic Model for Lévy Walks in Swarming Bacteria

Gil Ariel, Avraham Be'Er, Andy Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We describe a new mechanism for Lévy walks, explaining the recently observed superdiffusion of swarming bacteria. The model hinges on several key physical properties of bacteria, such as an elongated cell shape, self-propulsion, and a collectively generated regular vortexlike flow. In particular, chaos and Lévy walking are a consequence of group dynamics. The model explains how cells can fine-tune the geometric properties of their trajectories. Experiments confirm the spectrum of these patterns in fluorescently labeled swarming Bacillus subtilis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number228102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - 2 Jun 2017

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© 2017 American Physical Society.


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