from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun biology A mechanism of spontaneous, indirect coordination between agents or actions, where the trace left in the environment by an action stimulates the performance of a subsequent action.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Coined in 1959 by French biologist Pierre-Paul Grassé in reference to termite behaviour, from the Ancient Greek στίγμα (stigma, "mark”, “sign") + ἔργον (ergon, "work”, “action").



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Is this like a catalyst?

    April 5, 2011

  • " ‘stigmergy’ − a term coined by the French zoologist Pierre-Paul Grassé to describe how wasps and termites collectively build complex structures by adding to the product of previous work rather than by communicating directly among themselves (Karsai, 2004: 101)" - Loveland, Jeff, and Joseph Reagle. "Wikipedia and encyclopedic production." New Media & Society (2013).

    June 5, 2013