Washington: Scientists have found that ants are equipped with a number of sophisticated navigation tools, including the ability to both learn and use vibrational and magnetic landmarks.
A new led by Bill Hansson and Markus Knaden of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, trained desert ants with magnetic and vibrational landmarks relative to their nest.
Then they tested the ants and showed that the training did in fact help them find their nest.
Importantly, they also found that the ants had no innate preference for the landmarks, indicating that the behaviours were learned.
Whether ants use these types of cues for navigation in the wild remains unknown, the authors say, but their results highlight the flexibility of the ants’ navigation system.
The discovery was recently reported in the open access journal PLoS ONE.