Home > Papers from 2012 > Search as a function of food type

Search as a function of food type

Recent papers from Bolek et al. have shown how the properties of a food source can influence an ant’s search for that source on future visits. Here Patrick Schultheiss presents more evidence of how the food searches of desert ants are tuned to the properties of the food source. Australian desert ant Melophorus were trained to collect either protein or carbohydrate at a fixed location. The ants that had become familiar with a protein feeder showed a broader search pattern when the food was removed than the ants that had trained with a carbohydrate feeder. This highlights the flexibility of ants’ searches, which seem to be tuned to the natural distribution of food, where protein sources (dead arthropods) are not as clustered as carbohydrate sources.

Patrick Schultheiss and Ken Cheng (2012) Finding food: outbound searching behavior in the Australian desert ant Melophorus bagoti. Behavioral Ecology first published online September 21, 2012 doi:10.1093/beheco/ars143

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Categories: Papers from 2012
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