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Thursday, May 3, 2007

When ants go walking, they count their steps

Perhaps you don’t know, but ants count the number of steps they take to find their way home.
Scientists trained desert ants, Cataglyphis fortis, to walk along a straight path from their nest entrance to a feeder 30 feet away. If the nest or feeder was moved, the ants would break from their straight path after reaching the anticipated spot and search for their goal.
Next, the researchers performed a little cosmetic surgery.
The ants on stilts took the right number of steps, but because of their increased stride length, marched past their goal. Stump-legged ants, meanwhile, fell short of the goal.

After getting used to their new legs, the ants were able to adjust their pedometer and zero in on home more precisely, suggesting that stride length serves as an ant pedometer.

Source & Image:
livescience.com

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