Ants use visual memory to help find home

Tuesday 30 July 2013
Jack Jumper ant, Myrmecia croslandi, Photo: Ajay Narendra

Jack Jumper ants, Myrmecia croslandi, are day-active animals. Individual foragers from a single nest typically head to nest-specific Eucalyptus trees. Studies by Narendra, Gourmaud and Zeil, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that these animals rely heavily on visual landmark information and are able to find home from locations they have never been before.

"If they have a memory of how the scene looks like from different directions close to the nest, they can then compare this with the views they encounter at distant release stations," says Zeil.

"Our results suggest that the ants use the mismatch between the two scenes to find their way back to the nest."

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