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Navigation in wood ants Formica japonica: context dependent use of landmarks.


Fukushi, T; Wehner, R (2004). Navigation in wood ants Formica japonica: context dependent use of landmarks. Journal of Experimental Biology, 207(19):3431-3439.

Abstract

Wood ants Formica japonica can steer their outbound (foraging) and inbound (homing) courses without using celestial compass information, by relying exclusively on landmark cues. This is shown by training ants to run back and forth between the nest and an artificial feeder, and later displacing the trained ants either from the nest (when starting their foraging runs: outbound full-vector ants) or from the feeder (when starting their home runs: inbound full-vector ants) to various nearby release sites. In addition, ants that have already completed their foraging and homing runs are displaced after arrival either at the feeder (outbound zero-vector ants) or at the nest (inbound zero-vector ants), respectively, to the very same release sites. Upon release, the full-vector ants steer their straight courses by referring to panoramic landmark cues, while the zero-vector ants presented with the very same visual scenery immediately search for local landmark cues defining their final goal. Hence, it depends on the context, in this case on the state of the forager's round-trip cycle, what visual cues are picked out from a given set of landmarks and used for navigation.

Abstract

Wood ants Formica japonica can steer their outbound (foraging) and inbound (homing) courses without using celestial compass information, by relying exclusively on landmark cues. This is shown by training ants to run back and forth between the nest and an artificial feeder, and later displacing the trained ants either from the nest (when starting their foraging runs: outbound full-vector ants) or from the feeder (when starting their home runs: inbound full-vector ants) to various nearby release sites. In addition, ants that have already completed their foraging and homing runs are displaced after arrival either at the feeder (outbound zero-vector ants) or at the nest (inbound zero-vector ants), respectively, to the very same release sites. Upon release, the full-vector ants steer their straight courses by referring to panoramic landmark cues, while the zero-vector ants presented with the very same visual scenery immediately search for local landmark cues defining their final goal. Hence, it depends on the context, in this case on the state of the forager's round-trip cycle, what visual cues are picked out from a given set of landmarks and used for navigation.

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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 September 2004
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:16
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 13:21
Publisher:Company of Biologists
ISSN:0022-0949
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.01159
PubMed ID:15326219

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