Home > Papers from 2017 > Getting right back to it

Getting right back to it

One of the most prominent ideas in insect navigation is that visual navigation over long routes, or whilst searching for a discrete goal, can proceed via straightforward view-based mechanisms. That is, by aligning ones current view with stored views from previous excursions. So far, so simple, but what happens if individuals aren’t oriented in the direction of travel, as happens when ants are pulling an object backwards or when a flying insects is tracking sideways. Ardin et al. have showed previously that ants without path integration can orient accurately towards their nest when walking backwards. Here we learn about how ants manage this. Ants that have information from their Path Integration system are shown to be able to use this when moving backwards (as previosuly shown by Pfeffer and Wittlinger). However the interesting finding is that occasionally ants drop the food and loop around. If this looping results in the ants observing the familiar route in the normal direction (i.e. experience a familiar stored view) then they can return to the food and drag it in an accurate visually defined direction, albeit controlled by celestial compass information. This simple behavioural observation is thus very powerful in showing how visual guidance interacts with other directional control systems.

Schwarz, S., Mangan, M., Zeil, J., Webb, B., & Wystrach, A. (2017). How Ants Use Vision When Homing Backward. Current Biology.

Advertisements
Categories: Papers from 2017
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s