Home > Papers from 2016 > Navigating backwards

Navigating backwards

Just like London buses, you wait ages for a paper about backwards navigation, and then three come along at once. On this blog we have already had a post about the ability of Australian ants to maintain the direction of a homeward path for prolonged periods, even without path integration (Ardin et al., 2016; http://wp.me/pFSBM-f8). Almost simultaneously, in terms of publication date, we have a pair of papers about backwards homing in Cataglyphis fortis. The second paper in the pair is concerned with the co-ordination of leg movements and demonstrates that during backwards navigation leg coordination is more flexible than during ordinary forwards movements. The first paper show shows how the distance and direction estimations of navigating ants are not impacted when the ants are forced to carry food backwards. However, backwards ants do occasionally stop, drop their food item, and perform a series of small loops. These loops are centered on the dropped food item and seem to be related to the navigational task. Further investigation of this behaviour in general and these loops in particular, promise to be fascinating.

 

Pfeffer, S. E., & Wittlinger, M. (2016). How to find home backwards? Navigation during rearward homing of Cataglyphis fortis desert ants. Journal of Experimental Biology219(14), 2119-2126.

Pfeffer, S. E., Wahl, V. L., & Wittlinger, M. (2016). How to find home backwards? Locomotion and inter-leg coordination during rearward walking of Cataglyphis fortis desert ants. Journal of Experimental Biology219(14), 2110-2118.
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Categories: Papers from 2016
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