Home > Papers from 2011 > Different visual strategies for on and off route guidance

Different visual strategies for on and off route guidance

Much of an ant’s foraging life might be spent shuttling along habitual routes which we know can be guided by visual cues. Ants also need to use any visual knowledge they have if they find themselves in unfamiliar terrain, such as might happen following a gust of wind. In this paper, Wystrach et al use a neat experimental device of controlling the experience of individual  foragers either to a route or an area around the nest. Displaced ants produced accurate homeward heading when released on both familiar route and unfamiliar yet close locations. By comparing the departure bearings of the ants with predictions based on analysis of natural panoramic scenes,  Wystrach et al showed that the behaviour of ants on familiar route is well predicted by a visual compass. Whereas from unfamiliar places ants seem to use vision in a way that is much more similar to classic Snapshot methods.
Antoine Wystrach Guy Beugnon and Ken Cheng (2012) Ants might use different view-matching strategies on and off the route. Journal of Experimental Biology 215, 44-55. doi:10.1242/jeb.059584
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Categories: Papers from 2011
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