Measuring Their Steps

Asian Needle Ant

Asian Needle Ant

Some foraging ants will wander in a tortuous path to locate a food source, yet return to the nest in a relatively straight line.  One method of navigation would be to locate the the nest in the visual field and then orient to the nest or a nearby landmark.  Another method is to use ideothetic cues or leg movements.  Some ants can track the numbers of steps taken in multiple directions, then integrate the information to calculate the direct path back to the nest.

Path integration for ants involves tracking the numbers of movements of the legs.  An ant stride is a constant length so counting the number of strides allows computation of distance.  If the length of the stride of an ant is artificially manipulated, the ants can no longer correctly determine the correct distance.  Their calculation is off by the change in the length of the stride.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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One Response to Measuring Their Steps

  1. Pingback: Measuring Their Steps – Entomo Planet

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