Home > Papers from 2014 > Which way to look for visual cues?

Which way to look for visual cues?

Both the environmental and foraging requirements of a particular ant species are sure to be important in shaping the way that they use visual information. For example the relatively featureless North African desert has led to Cataglyphis fortis having specialist horizontal regions of the eye that can be used to identify navigationally useful information. For ants that live in much more complex environments, such as dense rainforest, it is not clear how their visual systems should (or will) be tuned. In part, this is due to the practical problems of working in dense vegetation. For one such species, Odontomachus hastatus, Rodrigues and Oliveira have started the study of which regions of the visual field are useful for navigation. Ants were trained in an artificial arena which presented canopy, horizon or scent cues over a week long period. For tests, the cues were rotated as the ants fed and then homeward bearings were recorded. Both canopy and horizontal cues (when high contrast) proved strong cues for direction, thus suggesting that in dense vegetation these ants take information ‘from all around’.

Rodrigues, P. A., & Oliveira, P. S. (2014). Visual navigation in the Neotropical ant Odontomachus hastatus (Formicidae, Ponerinae), a predominantly nocturnal, canopy-dwelling predator of the Atlantic rainforest. Behavioural Processes.


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