How desert ants cope with enforced detours on their way home
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We ask whether desert ants (Cataglyphis fortis) perform path integration on their homeward as well as on their outward journey. If path integration does occur on the return journey, then, after an enforced detour, the ant's trajectory should point directly at its nest. To test whether this is so, ants were trained to forage at a spot 25 m from their nest. As an ant began its return journey to the nest, it was caught and transported to a test area where it was released either 2 m or 12 m from a wide barrier which obstructed its homeward path. The direction of the ants' trajectory after detouring around the barrier corresponded closely to that predicted on the assumption that the home vector is accurately updated during the detour.
Key wordsAnts Path integration Detours Homing
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