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The influence of the physical environment on the self-organised foraging patterns of ants

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Abstract.

Among social insects such as ants, scouts that modulate their recruiting behaviour, following simple rules based on local information, generate collective patterns of foraging. Here we demonstrate that features of the abiotic environment, specifically the foraging substrate, may also be influential in the emergence of group-level decisions such as the choice of one foraging path. Experimental data and theoretical analyses show that the collective patterns can arise independently of behavioural changes of individual scouts and can result, through self-organising processes, from the physico-chemical properties of the environment that alter the dynamics of information transfer by chemical trails.

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Accepted in revised form: 16 February 2001

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Detrain, .C., Natan, .C. & Deneubourg, .J. The influence of the physical environment on the self-organised foraging patterns of ants. Naturwissenschaften 88, 171–174 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001140100217

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Keywords

  • Experimental Data
  • Theoretical Analyse
  • Behavioural Change
  • Physical Environment
  • Local Information