Ants use sun and memories to help them navigate backwards

Ants use sun and memories to help them navigate backwards

 

Monday, 23 January, 2017

Prof. Barbara Webb (Informatics) and colleagues have studied a colony of desert ants in Seville to see how the insects navigate when transporting different-sized pieces of food. Previous research showed that ants walking forwards find their way by comparing what they see in front of them with visual memories of the route. This study found that ants traveling backwards use, instead, the sun’s position in the sky to guide them, as well as routinely dropping what they are carrying and turning around in order to compare what they see with their visual memories of the route.