Desert ants in different habitats use their navigational tool kit differently

K. Cheng, P. Schultheiss, S. Schwarz, C. Buhlmann, R. Wehner

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


A good deal about insect navigation has been learned from the study of desert ants. Different species inhabiting different habitats, however, might differ in how they use their navigational toolkit. Desert ants inhabiting semi-arid habitats can see many tussocks, bushes, and even trees in their visual surround, while ants inhabiting salt-pans face a visually barren landscape. Our research has so far found that ants inhabiting bare habitats rely more on vector-based navigation, based on keeping track of the distance and direction traveled, while ants inhabiting visually cluttered habitats rely more on using the terrestrial panorama for visually guided navigation. When displaced from a feeder to a test location far away, the former ants run off a longer proportion of their vector before engaging in search behavior to look for terrestrial cues.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventAnimal Behavior Society Annual Conference (50th : 2013) - Boulder, Colorado
Duration: 28 Jul 20131 Aug 2013


ConferenceAnimal Behavior Society Annual Conference (50th : 2013)
CityBoulder, Colorado


  • Deserts
  • Navigation behavior
  • Habitat utilization
  • Habitat selection
  • Formicidae


Dive into the research topics of 'Desert ants in different habitats use their navigational tool kit differently'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this