Home > Papers from 2013 > Obtaining magnetic sense from soil

Obtaining magnetic sense from soil

The existence of a magnetic sense that can be used for orientation in a variety of animals is well-established, although it is perhaps surprising that this is not more well-studied in ants and bees. Here Riveros et al investigate a potential role for soil in providing the correct biominerals for ant’s magnetic sense. A leaf-cutter colony was raised in a soil-free environment and foragers from that colony along with foragers from a control colony were tested for their ability to path integrate in a natural or altered magnetic field. The orientation of the ants raised with soil was affected more by a magnetic field shift than soil-free ants – thus suggesting that contact with soil is involved in the development of a magnetic sense in ants.

Riveros, A. J., Esquivel, D. M., Wajnberg, E., & Srygley, R. B. (2013). Do leaf-cutter ants Atta colombica obtain their magnetic sensors from soil?.Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 1-8.

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