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Landmark memories are more robust when acquired at the nest site than en route: experiments in desert ants.


Bisch-Knaden, S; Wehner, R (2003). Landmark memories are more robust when acquired at the nest site than en route: experiments in desert ants. Naturwissenschaften, Die, 90(3):127-130.

Abstract

Foraging desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, encounter different sequences of visual landmarks while navigating by path integration. This paper explores the question whether the storage of landmark information depends on the context in which the landmarks are learned during an ant's foraging journey. Two experimental set-ups were designed in which the ants experienced an artificial landmark panorama that was placed either around the nest entrance (nest marks) or along the vector route leading straight towards the feeder (route marks). The two training paradigms resulted in pronounced differences in the storage characteristics of the acquired landmark information: memory traces of nest marks were much more robust against extinction and/or suppression than those of route marks. In functional terms, this result is in accord with the observation that desert ants encounter new route marks during every foraging run but always pass the same landmarks when approaching the nest entrance.

Foraging desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, encounter different sequences of visual landmarks while navigating by path integration. This paper explores the question whether the storage of landmark information depends on the context in which the landmarks are learned during an ant's foraging journey. Two experimental set-ups were designed in which the ants experienced an artificial landmark panorama that was placed either around the nest entrance (nest marks) or along the vector route leading straight towards the feeder (route marks). The two training paradigms resulted in pronounced differences in the storage characteristics of the acquired landmark information: memory traces of nest marks were much more robust against extinction and/or suppression than those of route marks. In functional terms, this result is in accord with the observation that desert ants encounter new route marks during every foraging run but always pass the same landmarks when approaching the nest entrance.

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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)
Language:English
Date:1 March 2003
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:16
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:15
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0028-1042
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s00114-003-0405-8
PubMed ID:12649754
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-641

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