A laboratory experiment showed that the efficiency of production of food ants from proven sources will be lower if their nest has two entrances instead of one. In this case, they involve more labor, but noted the relatives find resources harder and worse than rank them by value. Scientists believe that the presence of different passages complicates the orientation for paramonovym labels. Article published in the journal PLoS One.
Social insects, such as bees or ants, can work together to build a home, to repel the attacks or to use source of forage. However, their action is not led by a centre — each insect makes a decision individually, based on the situation and simple signals relatives. Relatively speaking, the whole colony in General is a kind of brain whose activity organizes itself.
This is easily illustrated in the case of forage for many species of ants. A small number of insects patrolling the surroundings of the nest to find a food source. If they find something edible, then on the way back to the anthill leaving a trail of pheromones, and pheromones stands out all the more, the better the source. Then the other ants follow the marked path, and if the place still left food, then on the way back, the insects strengthen the pheromone trail. The result is a positive feedback loop: the richer and more stable source of food, the “brighter” a path leads to it. Such a decision-making mechanism does not require any hierarchy of command, or complex cognitive abilities.
Marine Glue (Marine Lehue) from the free University of Brussels and her colleagues investigated the mechanism of collective decision-making in ants Myrmica rubra in the laboratory. They removed several ant colonies from nature and placed them in an artificial nest from a plastic material to controlled conditions. Researchers were interested in whether the opening of a second entrance to the nest to forage strategy.
Close to the nest without other food sources placed two saucers with sugar syrup, which differed in the concentration of ten times. Since sugar is a carbohydrate, the thick syrup has obviously greater value for insects. Further, scientists using high-resolution cameras was watching the experiment with two different initial States with one open entrance and two.
The observed pattern in these two States differed significantly. For starters, the number of ants recruited to furazhirovki, at the opening of the second entrance increased about two times. However, the effect of additional active forces leveled their poor organization. If you are using one input to one of the feeders reached 43 percent of ants, 36 began to wander around the neighborhood, and 21 immediately turned back to the nest, in the presence of the second pass the numbers changed to 34, 28 and 38, respectively.