Ants Can Find Their Way Even When Going Backwards: Study

Posted: Jan 21 2017, 2:21am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Ants Can Find Their Way Even When Going Backwards: Study
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According to a new research study, ants can detect the way independent of their bodies’orientation. The research team did the research at Antoine Wystrach of the Research Centre on Animal Cognition (CNRS/Université Toulouse III -- Paul Sabatier). 

The team found that ants’ brain is very active though it’s smaller than pin’s head. Ants use their terrestrial cues to remember paths. Different brain parts in ants’assist them in finding their way. The research proved that insects have complex brains. The study also published in Current Biology on January 19, 2017.

Previous research showed that ants can remember the routes when it appears on their multifaceted retinas, using egocentric. This hypothesis showed that ants need orientation to same path every time.But, when ants walk backwards that does not affect their memory as they still can find their way.

The research team studied an ant species called Cataglyphis velox that stays in deserts, and its navigation ability is solo. The researchers placed ants on a path having 90 degree turn.

They were trained on this path and researchers found that ants carrying small cookie crumb turned the path easily, but ants with large piece of cookie crumbs moved backward, kept their bearing rather than turning.

These ants had strange behavior, as they stopped in the way, dropped the cookie crumbs turned around to observe the path and again resumed in the right direction. The study shows that ants also remembered the dropped cookie crumb.

The study showed that ants had three memories in process, including the visual memory of the path, the memory of the new direction to go, and the memory of the crumb to grab.

Research team also did an experiment with mirror to reflect sunlight; the team found that ants followed their cues to have same bearing walking backwards. They could move straight paths while walking forward, backward or sideways. It means ants store direction through alo-centeric, the frame of reference.

The new research shows that ants’ memory depends on certain brain activities in different areas. The mirror experiment was also done 100 years ago by Felix Santschi to disorient the ants against reflected sun rays.

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