Ants-scouts help their relatives, who are prey to the nest, to escape the trap maze and find a workaround. These insects explore space at some distance from the group of movers, and if the depth of the trap does not exceed the distance to the group, the scouts help to circumvent the obstacle. The authors of an article published in the journal eLife, with the help of mathematical models showed that for the successful completion of the maze enough radius intelligence an order of magnitude smaller size of the arena.
Navigation in space can be based on simple reactions like chemotaxis (movement along a concentration gradient of chemical substances), and may use cognitive abilities of an individual or even the collective intelligence of the whole population. Social animals can work together to make decisions, to follow the leader and pass social learning — all of these abilities help group members in various situations.
Using collective intelligence some animals solve the navigation task, which can not cope individual. So, when the ants together move items, the part of the insect carries a load, and the part runs around. Free ant can join a carrier group, become a leader and set the direction. It is possible that such insects are scouts, find out the best way and send it to their relatives.
Israeli scientists from the Weizmann Institute under the guidance of Feinerman ofer (Ofer Feinerman) investigated the behavior of the Longhorn crazy ant (Paratrechina longicornis) in the maze, similar to a natural environment with obstacles. In the arena of 70 on 50 centimeters in random order were placed cubes of edge 0.8 cm. On three sides the maze restricted by walls, and the fourth was located in the nest of ants. On the opposite of the socket the edge of the arena put the pieces of cat food, while insects have not developed the route from the nest to the feeder and back.
Then feed was replaced by a silicone ring with a diameter of one centimeter — it night lay in a bag with cat food, the ants took him for food and were transferred into the house. Insects could freely bend around obstacles and move in any route but the ring was not everywhere — the distance between neighboring blocks does not always exceed the radius of the ring. To go around all the obstacles, the ants had to build a complex route.