Home > Papers from 2012 > Searching for food

Searching for food

Many of us are involved in attempts to study the navigational mechanisms of central place foragers. Sometimes we overlook the flexibility that might be involved in navigation away from that central place and towards food sites. For instance, we might focus on homewards motivated animals or we might experimentally control food location in a way that is unnatural. All in all, we may miss the nuanced way in which individuals navigate towards possible food locations. In this paper, Bolek et al. investigate some of the factors that modulate the behaviour of foodwards foragers. Using a channel arrangement and carefully controlled feeders, they were able to see how searches for food varied. The major conclusions are that the food quantity at a feeder as well as personal experience of a reliable feeder are major determining factors of a dense accurate search for a feeder. This highlights an interesting process that is happening at a feeder, when an ant is ‘deciding’ how much investment to make in attempting to return to that location.

The authors of this paper have also written a review article about food searches which is published in one of the Frontiers journals.

Siegfried Bolek, Matthias Wittlinger, and Harald Wolf (2012) What counts for ants? How return behaviour and food search of Cataglyphis ants are modified by variations in food quantity and experience. J Exp Biol 2012;215 3218-3222

Harald Wolf, Matthias Wittlinger and Siegfried Bolek (2012) Re-Visiting of Plentiful Food Sources and Food Search Strategies in Desert Ants Front. Neurosci. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00102

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Categories: Papers from 2012
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