Multimodal influences on learning walks in desert ants (Cataglyphis fortis)

Vega Vermehren, Jose Adrian, Buehlmann, Cornelia, David Fernandes, Ana Sofia and Graham, Paul (2020) Multimodal influences on learning walks in desert ants (Cataglyphis fortis). Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 206. pp. 701-709. ISSN 0340-7594

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Ants are excellent navigators using multimodal information for navigation. To accurately localise the nest at the end of a foraging journey, visual cues, wind direction and also olfactory cues need to be learnt. Learning walks are performed at the start of an ant’s foraging career or when the appearance of the nest surrounding has changed. We investigated here whether the structure of such learning walks in the desert ant Cataglyphis fortis takes into account wind direction in conjunction with the learning of new visual information. Ants learnt to travel back and forth between their nest and a feeder, and we then introduced a black cylinder near their nest to induce learning walks in regular foragers. By doing this across days with different wind directions, we were able to probe how ants balance different sensory modalities. We found that (1) the ants’ outwards headings are influenced by the wind direction with their routes deflected such that they will arrive downwind of their target, (2) a novel object along the route induces learning walks in experienced ants and (3) the structure of learning walks is shaped by the wind direction rather than the position of the visual cue.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Learning walks, ant navigation, multimodal navigation, visual cues, wind
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2020 13:57
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 12:30

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