Collective choice of the best food source

Collective choice of the best food source

Ants also make group decisions about food, and we have found that colonies of Temnothorax rugatulus can choose the richer of two sucrose solutions. We are studying how this collective choice emerges from the ants’ individual behavior, in particular their recruitment communication via tandem runs. The positive feedback of recruitment is fundamental to all forms of collective decision-making, but differences among recruitment behaviors have major impacts on group performance. Tandem runs are quite different from the highly nonlinear recruitment of trail-laying ants, instead showing essential similarities to the waggle dance of the honey bee, despite superficial differences. We are currently exploring this similarity to see if it gives T. rugatulus the same combination of selectivity and flexibility seen in the bee.

Skills

Posted on

January 9, 2015