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Steering intermediate courses: desert ants combine information from various navigational routines


Wehner, Rüdiger; Hoinville, Thierry; Cruse, Holk; Cheng, Ken (2016). Steering intermediate courses: desert ants combine information from various navigational routines. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 202(7):459-472.

Abstract

A number of systems of navigation have been studied in some detail in insects. These include path integration, a system that keeps track of the straight-line distance and direction travelled on the current trip, the use of panoramic landmarks and scenery for orientation, and systematic searching. A traditional view is that only one navigational system is in operation at any one time, with different systems running in sequence depending on the context and conditions. We review selected data suggesting that often, different navigational cues (e.g., compass cues) and different systems of navigation are in operation simultaneously in desert ant navigation. The evidence suggests that all systems operate in parallel forming a heterarchical network. External and internal conditions determine the weights to be accorded to each cue and system. We also show that a model of independent modules feeding into a central summating device, the Navinet model, can in principle account for such data. No central executive processor is necessary aside from a weighted summation of the different cues and systems. Such a heterarchy of parallel systems all in operation represents a new view of insect navigation that has already been expressed informally by some authors.

Abstract

A number of systems of navigation have been studied in some detail in insects. These include path integration, a system that keeps track of the straight-line distance and direction travelled on the current trip, the use of panoramic landmarks and scenery for orientation, and systematic searching. A traditional view is that only one navigational system is in operation at any one time, with different systems running in sequence depending on the context and conditions. We review selected data suggesting that often, different navigational cues (e.g., compass cues) and different systems of navigation are in operation simultaneously in desert ant navigation. The evidence suggests that all systems operate in parallel forming a heterarchical network. External and internal conditions determine the weights to be accorded to each cue and system. We also show that a model of independent modules feeding into a central summating device, the Navinet model, can in principle account for such data. No central executive processor is necessary aside from a weighted summation of the different cues and systems. Such a heterarchy of parallel systems all in operation represents a new view of insect navigation that has already been expressed informally by some authors.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:13 Feb 2017 11:31
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 23:20
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-7594
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00359-016-1094-z
PubMed ID:27259296

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