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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ants Orientation Secret

Surrounding landscape looked the same. There's only desert sand and rock. But desert ants can always find a way back to the nest, although only rely on the instructions of magnetic, vibratory, or carbon dioxide.
Cataglyphis-nodus ants. (Picture from: http://www.ants-kalytta.com/)
Desert ants have adapted to living in arid environments that provide little orientation marker. To overcome this problem, the ants do not rely solely on visual cues and smells, but also the polarized light as a compass and calculating steps for safe return after foraging.

How ants can have a proven ability to help navigate these animals adapt to their environment is not friendly?
Cataglyphis noda ants approach their nest entrance -- a small hole in the ground of an experimental tube. (Picture from: http://www.eurekalert.org/)
In experiments with Cataglyphis genus ants in their natural habitat in Tunisia and Turkey, animal behavior experts from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, found that the ants can also use magnetic markers and vibration to find a way, back to the nest. Carbon dioxide produced by friends of the nest when breathing is also helpful to know the location of the entrance to the ant nest.

The team of scientists at the laboratory of Mark Knaden, behavior expert Bill Hansson at the Department of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, conduct research to examine whether the ants adapt to the desert landscape of minimal guidance and able to use magnetic and vibration signals. "We were very surprised to find out what happened," says researcher Cornelia Buehlmann.
Ph.D. Student Cornelia Buehlmann Performing Experiments. (Picture from: http://www.eurekalert.org/)
Integration mechanism is interesting that traces of the ants in its orientation. This mechanism combines computation steps after leaving the nest with the determination using polarized light.

Method that helps the insects to return to the nest survival is an important formula in dry environments such as deserts. To refine the method is vulnerable to false, the ants use landmarks, so they can go home quickly without lost. Visual and odor markers serve as an important clue. *** [SCIENCEDAILY | KORAN TEMPO 3822]
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