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A nature inspired decentralized multi-agent algorithm is proposed to solve a problem of distributed task selection in which cities produce and store batches of different mail types. Agents must collect and process the mail batches, without a priori knowledge of the available mail at the cities or inter-agent communication. In order to process a different mail type than the previous one, agents must undergo a change-over during which it remains inactive.We propose a threshold based algorithm in order to maximize the overall efficiency (the average amount of mail collected). We show that memory, i.e. the possibility for agents to develop preferences for certain cities, not only leads to emergent cooperation between agents, but also to a significant increase in efficiency (above the theoretical upper limit for any memoryless algorithm), and we systematically investigate the influence of the various model parameters. Finally, we demonstrate the flexibility of the algorithm to changes in circumstances, and its excellent scalability.