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Andel, D; Wehner, R (2004). Path integration in desert ants, Cataglyphis: how to make a homing ant run away from home. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 271(1547):1485-1489.

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Path integration is an ant's lifeline on any of its foraging journeys. It results in a homebound global vector that continually informs the animal about its position relative to its starting point. Here, we use a particular (repeated training and displacement) paradigm, in which homebound ants are made to follow a familiar landmark route repeatedly from the feeder to the nest, even after they have arrived at the nest. The results show that during the repeated landmark-guided home runs the ant's path integrator runs continually, so that the current state of the homebound vector increasingly exceeds the reference state. The dramatic result is that the homing ants run away from home. This finding implies that the ants do not rely on cartographic information about the locations of nest and feeder (e.g. that the nest is always south of the feeder), but just behave according to what the state of their egocentric path integrator tells them.


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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Zoology (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Date:22 July 2004
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:13
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:13
Publisher:Royal Society of London
Publisher DOI:10.1098/rspb.2004.2749
PubMed ID:15306320

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