Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Ants can learn vibrational and magnetic landmarks: Trained ants of the species Cataglyphis noda pinpointed their nest without any problem if a battery-powered vibrational device was buried next to the nest entrance so that the ants could localize their nest by using the vibrational landmark. To exclude electromagnetic effects of the device, experiments were performed using the vibrational device without contact to the ground. The result: The ants behaved like their untrained conspecifics. They wandered around aimlessly. If two strong neodym magnets generating a magnetic field of about 21 millitesla (the earth’s magnetic field was, for comparison, only 0.041 millitesla) were placed above ground next to the nest, trained ants again found their home without any problems.