Home > Papers from 2013 > Seeing in the dark

Seeing in the dark

The importance of visual cues for the navigation of the Australian Bullant is suggested by their general pattern of departures from the nest at dusk with returns from their favoured foraging tree usually waiting till dawn. However, ants will attempt to return to their nest early if they have captured a prey item (as opposed to harvesting honeydew). These returns will then be in darker conditions. Narendra et al. have investigated how navigational performance is influenced by the reduced light levels. In light and dark conditions ants relied predominantly on visual information but at lower light levels, ants paused for longer, walked more slowly and success was reduced. More detailed study of the pauses that ants produce at low levels may turn out to be key for understanding how they are using visual information in this context.

Narendra, A., Reid, S. F. & Raderschall, C. 2013 Navigational Efficiency of Nocturnal ‘Myrmecia’ Ants Suffers at Low Light Levels. PLoS ONE 8, e58801.

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