Today's Tidbit: Tunisian Ants Don't Need a GPS to Return Home

Tunisian Ants Don't Need a GPS to Return Home

There are ants in Tunisia that are roughly a few millimeters long. They leave their nests and find food sources by smelling them.

In order to make sure they do not loose the scent, they aim somewhat downwind from the food source. When they get to a food source, they bite off a chunk of food and drag it back to their nests which they find by path integration.

Now here's the amazing thing—they can do this with a food source 50 meters from their nest.

That's like us smelling something five miles away, walking to it, and then walking back home with no roads and signs to guide us.

References:

  • Harald Wolf & Rudiger Wehner, "Desert ants compensate for navigation uncertainty"
Photo by ESA

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