Ants remember the location of the pit and fell into it again

Ants rearrange the usual route to avoid a trap in the form of pits, which is not visible from the surface. After the first decline in insects was formed in Association with the environment directly in front of the trap; when they the second time was in this place, the ants stopped, looked around and sometimes tried to find another way. As a result, some insects have found a bypass, the new route was established and remained even after the trap was closed. Article published in the journal Current Biology.

Insects can memorize the routes of their daily movements with amazing accuracy. For example, bees can determine the best sequence of visits to flowers over several kilometers, and the ants very accurately reproduce your way long up to 100 meters. Mainly insects rely on visual landmarks; we know what structures of the brain are involved in remembering routes. Less is known about how insects develop and rebuild the usual way and what mechanisms underlie such changes.

Westrac Antoine (Antoine Wystrach) from the University Paul Sabatier and his colleagues from France, the UK and Australia trained ant species Melophorus bagoti and Cataglyphis fortis to walk from the nest to the feeder and back. After the insects have mastered the straight path in the ground opened the trap perpendicular to the tunnel depth of 7-10 centimeters, in which the ants fell. Get out of the pit could only be in one place on the inclined plate.

After 24 hours of 28 percent of the ants have learned to beat the trap, and the rest continued to fall into it every time on the way to the anthill. Your route the insects were kept, even if the pit were closed and when they were transferred from the nest to the feeder, in violation of internal guidelines. So, insects remember the path for external reference points.

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