An Experimental Analysis on the Magnetic Field Sensitivity of the Black-Meadow Ant Formica Pratensis Retzius (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
Ant responses were tested under both the natural geomagnetic and artificially induced Earth-strength electromagnetic field. Foragers were trained for a month to visit a food source at the north arm accessed through an orientation platform assembly. Under the natural geomagnetic field, when all other orientational cues were eliminated, results indicated significant heterogeneity of ant distribution with the majority seeking geomagnetic north in darkness. However, in light, foragers failed to discriminate geomagnetic north. Under shifted artificial electromagnetic field, orientation was predominantly on the artificial magnetic N/S axis with a significant preference for the artificial north in both light and dark conditions.
KeywordsMagnetic sense magnetoreception orientation ants Formica pratensis
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