The amazing sense of the direction of desert ants

The House of Science is like a collection of stories. Beautiful stories that tell neighborhoods in all their freshness. But also in all its complexities. Arch to marvel at the treasures of the world. In this new episode, let’s discover the amazing strategies devised by the insects we know so well: the ants.

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Ants can be found all over the world. Except maybe in Greenland and South Pole. Elsewhere, it is enough to lower your head to see it working on the floor. Small monsters that weigh no more than 10 milligrams each. But which one weighs more than all of humanity!

10, 100 … even more than 12,000. Researchers continue to learn about new Cash. And it’s not worse. Because of ants protect some the trees From ParasitesContributing to the dispersal of seeds, defending the fruits against attacksinsects And cleaning nature by eating small dead animals.

Ants are also known for their cognitive abilities. They are social insects that communicate with each other and are able to solve complex problems. they brain, however small, they can record an astonishing amount of information with great accuracy. This is the case especially the ant that lives in Desert from the desert. ant cousin no The fastest in the worldAn ant can run 10 times faster – all things considered – than Usain Bolt! Just to survive the heat Overwhelming spread in the region.

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Our ant may not be so fast. But she has developed an astonishing strategy to orient herself in a landscape devoid of landmarks. Otherwise how do you do it when everything grains of sand Are they alike?

Follow the sun and “count” your steps

What ants like to do to find their way back in general is mark up. A bit like petit bouquet, with its pebbles. However, ants use instead of the chemicals that they secrete. Unfortunately, in the desert, under the influence of heat, everything evaporates very quickly. Including chemicals.

But it takes more to drive a desert ant away from its bases. Anyone who gets in the way of their chemical labeling can become their best ally. Because researchers show that it ultimately uses both position, intensity, and even polarization Light The Soleil As well as the amount of perceived images of self-orientation and estimation of distances. Even better, when the ant finds something to eat, it can look at the sunEvaluate what would be the shortest way back to the anthill. To avoid grilling…

Other ants in Andalusia and Australia have shown their ability to move and orient themselves backwards. Very useful for dragging a piece of cake into an anthill. Again, align with the sun. And if it is necessary to recalibrate on the right track, they can also temporarily move away from their prey and then find it again to continue in the right direction.

But, let’s go back to the desert ants. According to researchers, they will also enjoy ب pedometer built-in. They verified a hypothesis by attaching tiny millimeter-long twigs to the end of their legs. Then the ants moved on legs longer than usual. On the way back to the anthill, they traveled 50% more than necessary. So no, that doesn’t mean ants know how to count. The exact mechanism remains a mystery. Experience confirms that desert ants have amazing abilities in conservation and analysis. All in all, they are not that stupid!

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