Ants use whatever is useful?
Of course we all know that ants can use visual landmarks and we also have a good understanding of their use of idiothetic cues during path integration. In addition to these cues, it would seem unlikely that ants weren’t also capable of learning information from other modalities. Following this line of thought, Markus Knaden has over the the years, expanded our knowledge of other informational modalities that ants use, such as olfaction and ground structure. Here, with Cornelia Buhlman we learn about another two cues. Ants were trained to associate the exit from a channel with either a visual, olfactory, magnetic or vibratory ‘landmark’. Those final two modalities being new additions to our understanding of the cues that ants can use to define a place.
Buehlmann C, Hansson BS, Knaden M (2012) Desert Ants Learn Vibration and Magnetic Landmarks. PLoS ONE 7(3): e33117. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033117