How ants find their way

Ever wondered how ants find their way straight to the uncovered food in your kitchen? Now scientists have discovered how the humble wood ant navigates over proportionally huge distances, using just very poor eyesight and confusing and changing natural landmarks. The research could have significant benefits in the development of autonomous robots and in furthering our understanding of basic animal learning processes.

Scientists at the University of Sussex, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), have shown precisely how the ant's visual navigation strategy works. On a wood ant's first trip to a food site it follows a chemical trail left by earlier ants. This is a slow way of travelling as the ant needs to walk with its antennae to the ground. However, this initial route forms the basis of an efficient learning strategy. On the first trip ants store images of the route as they travel and on later trips to the food site will navigate using a combination of landmarks and memories of the whole landscape. The scientists found the ants even used different sets of landmark memories depending on whether they were on their way to food, or whether they were full and heading back to the nest. Ants store many memories and have mechanisms to activate the right ones.

The researchers refined their research on ant visual memory selection in lab experiments. Research leader, Professor Tom Collett from the University of Sussex's Centre for Neuroscience, explained: "To show that ants use visual memory to navigate we trained ants to find food 10cm from a cylinder. We then doubled the size of the cylinder and the ants searched for the food at 20cm away where the retinal size of the landmark was the same."

To analyse the ants' powers of recall an ambiguous situation was set up. Ants were trained to search for food between two cylinders of different sizes and then tested with the training cylinders replaced by two cylinde

Contact: Matt Goode
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. ESF EURYI award winner aims to stop cancer cells reading their own DNA
2. How cells change the pace of their steps
3. Unlocking proteins from their cellular shell
4. Cells take risks with their identities
5. Birds take cues from their competitors
6. St. Jude study shows genes play an unexpected role in their own activation
7. Pre-cancerous blood diseases can be products of their environment
8. Plants recognize their siblings, biologists discover
9. Daddies girls choose men just like their fathers
10. Study shows lizard moms dress their children for success
11. New research shows sharks use their noses and bodies to locate smells

Post Your Comments:
TAG: How ants find their way

(Date:9/24/2015)... 24, 2015  EyeLock LLC, a market leader of ... winning and latest technology in Booth #602 at next ... . EyeLock,s iris authentication technology provides an ... accuracy, making it the most proven way to authenticate ... technology to deliver a fast and friendly user experience ...
(Date:9/10/2015)... Sept. 10, 2015 Report Details ... Reveals Selling Opportunities and Revenue Prospects to Help ... of biologics, especially new drug classes? Get the ... ahead with exclusive market data and industry knowledge, ... developments, results, opportunities and sales predictions. Visiongain,s ...
(Date:9/10/2015)...  NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... growing mobile commerce market, announces that the ... Modern, will feature the Wocket® smart wallet for the ... Touch Of Modern is an online ... to its 7.2 million members. Customers are affluent, urban ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/8/2015)... , October 8, 2015 ...   --> Goldman Small Cap Research, ... small cap and microcap sectors, announced today that ... on PharmaCyte Biotech, Inc. (OTCQB - PMCB), a ... developing and preparing treatments for cancer and diabetes. ...
(Date:10/8/2015)...  The ALS Association, in partnership with Prize4Life, is ... revolutionize communication technology solutions for people living with ALS. ... (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that ... spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability ... to total paralysis and death within two to five ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... , ... October 08, 2015 , ... Talon Innovations, a ... Aerospace and other technology-driven industries, announces that it is one of three finalists for ... Midsize Company.” On Thursday, September 25 Talon Innovations was recognized as a nominee ...
(Date:10/7/2015)... MARLBOROUGH, Mass. , Oct. 7, 2015 ... week announced the start of the Boston Scientific ... to encourage advancements in the use of remote patient ... clinicians, engineers, designers and entrepreneurs can submit their ideas ... networking site ( www.Medstro.com ). Cambridge, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: