Navigation in desert ants : odometry and path integration

Harald Wolf
Ulm University, Germany

Date(s) : 10/03/2021   iCal
14 h 00 min - 15 h 00 min

Desert ants of the genus Cataglyphis navigate back to their nests after foraging trips by means of path integration (as do many central place foragers, from social isopods to wolves). A brief review of this navigation strategy shall be provided, including experimental strategies to study ant navigation. A focus is on distance measurement, or odometry, (rather than on the well-studied compass mechanisms that include sun, polarisation, and spectral gradient compasses). The ants use two odometer mechanisms, stride integration and optic flow integration. Interaction of these two odometers and potential neuronal mechanisms shall be discussed.Differences in the search performances of sibling Cataglyphis species dwelling in habitats with different walking substrates may be related to accuracy limitations of the stride integrator. The above findings highlight biological principles for solving computational problems: typical solutions appear to rely on manageable approximations and calibration through learning rather than on mathematically exact calculations.

IOSSB Seminar


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