Decision making in ant foragers (Lasius niger) facing conflicting private and social information

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State: Public
Version: author
Serval ID
serval:BIB_B564248F1504
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Decision making in ant foragers (Lasius niger) facing conflicting private and social information
Journal
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Author(s)
Grüter C., Czaczkes T.J., Ratnieks F.L.W.
ISSN
1432-0762 (Electronic)
ISSN-L
0340-5443 (Print)
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2011
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
65
Number
2
Pages
141-148
Language
english
Abstract
Foragers of many ant species use pheromone trails to guide nestmates to food sources. During foraging, individual workers can also learn the route to a food source. Foragers of the mass-recruiting ant Lasius niger use both pheromone trails and memory to locate a food source. As a result, an experienced forager can have a conflict between social information (trail pheromones) and private information (route memory) at trail bifurcations. We tested decision making in L. niger foragers facing such an informational conflict in situations where both the strength of the pheromone trail and the number of previous visits to the food source varied. Foragers quickly learned the branch at a T bifurcation that leads to a food source, with 74.6% choosing correctly after one previous visit and 95.3% after three visits. Pheromone trails had a weaker effect on choice behaviour of na < ve ants, with only 61.6% and 70.2% choosing the branch that had been marked by one or 20 foragers versus an unmarked branch. When there was a conflict between private and social information, memory overrides pheromone after just one previous visit to a food source. Most ants, 82-100%, chose the branch where they had collected food during previous foraging trips, with the proportion depending on the number of previous trips (1 v. 3) but not on the strength of the pheromone trail (1 v. 20). In addition, the presence of a pheromone trail at one branch in a bifurcation had no effect on the time it took an experienced ant to choose the correct branch (the branch without pheromone). These results suggest that private information (navigational memory) dominates over social information (chemical tail) in orientation decisions during foraging activities in experienced L. niger foragers.
Keywords
Lasius niger, Foraging, Pheromone trails, Route memory, Decision making
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Create date
21/02/2014 10:09
Last modification date
20/08/2019 15:23
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