Document Detail


Ant foraging on complex trails: route learning and the role of trail pheromones in Lasius niger.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22972897     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Ants are central place foragers and use multiple information sources to navigate between the nest and feeding sites. Individual ants rapidly learn a route, and often prioritize memory over pheromone trails when tested on a simple trail with a single bifurcation. However, in nature ants often forage at locations which are reached via more complex routes with multiple trail bifurcations. Such routes may be more difficult to learn so that ants benefit from additional information. We hypothesized that trail pheromones play a more significant role in ant foraging on complex routes, either by assisting in navigation or route learning or both. We studied Lasius niger workers foraging on a doubly-bifurcating trail with 4 endpoints. Route learning was slower and errors greater on alternating (e.g. left-right) versus repeating routes (e.g. left-left) - error rates 32% and 3%, respectively. However, errors on alternating routes decreased by 30% when trail pheromone was present. Trail pheromones also aid route learning, leading to reduced errors in subsequent journeys without pheromone. If an experienced forager makes an error when returning to a food source, it reacts by increasing pheromone deposition on the return journey. In addition, high levels of trail pheromone suppress further pheromone deposition. This negative feedback mechanism may act to conserve pheromone or to regulate recruitment. Taken together, these results demonstrate further complexity and sophistication in the foraging system of ant colonies, especially in the role of trail pheromones and their relationship with learning and private information in relation to the challenges of foraging in a complex environment.
Authors:
Tomer J Czaczkes; Christoph Grüter; Laura Ellis; Elisabeth Wood; Francis L W Ratnieks
Related Documents :
23342157 - Social investigation and long-term recognition memory performance in 129s1/svimj and c5...
15451127 - Cognitive functioning moderates the relation between attention deficit hyperactivity di...
15493237 - Adhd and reading disability in male adults: is there a connection?
15737657 - Functional neuroanatomy of working memory in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivit...
15103497 - Object classification by echolocation in nectar feeding bats: size-independent generali...
17562087 - Sex differences in object location memory and spatial navigation in long-evans rats.
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-9-12
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1477-9145     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2012 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-9-13     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
University of Sussex.
Export Citation:
APA/MLA Format     Download EndNote     Download BibTex
MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


Previous Document:  Gestation increases the energetic cost of breathing in the lizard, Tiliqua rugosa.
Next Document:  The ventilatory response to hypoxia and hypercapnia is absent in the neonatal fat-tailed dunnart.