Zeitschrift für vergleichende Physiologie

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 409-411

First online:

Farbunterscheidungsvermögen bei der roten Waldameise Formica polyctena Förster

  • Jacob KiepenheuerAffiliated withZoologisches Institut der Universität Frankfurt a. M.

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The ability of colour distinction in the wood-ant Formica polyctena Förster


  1. a)

    Ants trained to run either towards or away from a light-source are tested under two coloured lights (Ultraviolet and Yellow-Green glassfilters), the brightness of which is so adjusted that they appear equally attractive, that is the ants run tropotacticly exactly between the two lights.

  2. b)

    Other ants were alternatively trained under one of these two adjusted colour-lights to keep either the Ultraviolet to their right or the Yellow-green to their left in order to reach their nest. The crucial test shows that the ants are well able to distinguish between the two colours (Figs. the difference is highly significant, p≪ 1%).

  3. c)

    In another experiment it was tested wether ants can distinguish successively between uncoloured lights of different brightness, which they can.