Home > Papers from 2015 > Views from ant world

Views from ant world

Insect navigation has long since claimed a privileged position within neuroethology because of the practicality of recording the details of natural behaviour. In certain environments, such as salt-pan deserts, it has always been possible to understand aspects of the sensory world, as Rudiger Wehner has done for polarisation patterns. Led by Jochen Zeil and followed wholeheartedly by many of us, recent insect navigation studies have used panoramic cameras to quantify some aspects of the terrestrial visual information available to ants. Sturzl et al here present the cutting edge of these attempts to reconstruct the visual experience of ants. Using Lidar scanners to build 3D depth maps, augmented with photos for colour information and distant panoramas, they are able to build detailed world models of key experimental environments. This paper gives us the detailed account of methods that have been hinted at previously and using examples from ant and wasp habitats they show how detailed world models can allow for the testing of specific hypotheses given equivalently detailed knowledge of animal behaviour. One particularly noteworthy part of the paper is some preliminary attempts to build 3D models of the undergrowth and complex leaf litter over which many ants have to walk. This is an important step in determining the complexity of the world and how this affects the visual navigation challenge… Something that is addressed in a blog post to follow this week … …
Stürzl, W., Grixa, I., Mair, E., Narendra, A., & Zeil, J. (2015). Three-dimensional models of natural environments and the mapping of navigational information. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 1-22.
Categories: Papers from 2015
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