Home > Papers from 2015 > Memories of home vectors

Memories of home vectors

PI can be used by ants to guide homeward and foodward memories, however it is unclear how distance and direction information becomes part of the long term memories of ants. Fernandes et al trained wood ants to find food at a fixed distance along a channel, with training locations dissociated from visual cues. One can test for vector memories by taking fed ants directly to the channel and observing homing behaviour that isn’t driven directly by PI. In this test ants walk in an appropriate distance and direction, these vector memories are primed simply by being in a fed state. A further batch of ants were trained (on alternate trials) to two feeder distances in opposite directions. Fed ants directly placed in the channel will choose a direction randomly, but then travel the appropriate distance for that direction. Thus distance and direction components are bound into insulated memories.

A.S.D. Fernandes, A. Philippides, T.S. Collett and J.E. Niven (2015) The acquisition and expression of memories of distance and direction in navigating wood ants. J Exp Biol doi:10.1242/jeb.125443

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