Home > Papers from 2015 > Path Integration on routes and route segments

Path Integration on routes and route segments

Another paper here from the special “Rudiger” issue of JCPA. Tom and Matthew have investigated whether ants demonstrate knowledge of route segments during homing. The answer is not 100% clear, but there seems to be some suggestion that experienced ants do modulate homing behaviour using information about segment length.

Abstract: “Insects such as desert ants and honeybees use visual memories to travel along familiar routes between their nest and a food-site. We trained Cataglyphis fortis foragers along a two-segment route to investigate whether they encode the lengths of route segments over which visual cues remain approximately constant. Our results support earlier studies suggesting that such route-segment odometry exists, and allows an individual to stop using a visual route memory at an appropriate point, even in the absence of any change in the visual surroundings. But we find that the behavioural effects of route-segment odometry are often complicated by interactions with guidance from the global path-integration system. If route-segment odometry and path-integration agree, they act together to produce a precise signal for search. If the endpoint of route-segment odometry arrives first, it does not trigger search but its effect can persist and cause guidance by path-integration to end early. Conversely, if ants start with their path-integration state at zero, they follow a route memory for no more than 3 m, irrespective of the route-segment length. A possible explanation for these results is that if one guidance system is made to overshoot its endpoint, it can cause the other to be cut short.”

Collett, T. S., & Collett, M. (2015). Route-segment odometry and its interactions with global path-integration. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, DOI: 10.1007/s00359-015-1001-z

Categories: Papers from 2015
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