Teaching in tandem-running ants

  title={Teaching in tandem-running ants},
  author={Nigel R. Franks and Tom Richardson},
The ant Temnothorax albipennis uses a technique known as tandem running to lead another ant from the nest to food —with signals between the two ants controlling both the speed and course of the run. Here we analyse the results of this communication and show that tandem running is an example of teaching, to our knowledge the first in a non-human animal, that involves bidirectional feedback between teacher and pupil. This behaviour indicates that it could be the value of information, rather than… 

Route learning during tandem running in the rock ant Temnothorax albipennis.

It is shown, for the first time, that tandem run followers learn specific routes from their leaders, and it is shown that foraging routes improved through individual experience over multiple trips but not through the social transfer of route information via tandem running.

Do ants need to be old and experienced to teach?

This study suggests that experience (rather than age per se) coupled to stimulus threshold responses might interact to promote a division of labour so that a suitable number of workers actively participate in tandem runs.

Teaching with Evaluation in Ants

Blinkered teaching: tandem running by visually impaired ants

The findings suggest that eyesight is used for navigation during tandem running but that these ants also probably use other orientation systems during such recruitment and to learn how to get to new nest sites.

Trail laying during tandem-running recruitment in the ant Temnothorax albipennis

Tandem running is a recruitment strategy whereby one ant leads a single naïve nest mate to a resource. While tandem running progresses towards the goal, the leader ant and the follower ant maintain

Tandem Recruitment and Foraging in the Ponerine Ant Pachycondyla harpax (Fabricius)

The results show that tandem running to food sources is common in P. harpax, but that foragers modify their behaviour according to the type of food and its distance from the nest, which could help colonies monopolize more distant food sources in a competitive environment.



Tandem Calling: A New Kind of Signal in Ant Communication

Evidence is presented to suggest that tandem running is the evolutionary precursor of odor-trail communication and sex attraction within certain phylogenetic lines of myrmicine ants.

The Use of Edges in Visual Navigation by the Ant Leptothorax albipennis

It is shown that ants can use similar retinotopic learning to guide lengthy routes, by memorizing and walking parallel to a distinct visual edge, as would be expected if they attempt to keep the wall’s image at a constant retinal position.

Navigation using visual landmarks by the ant Leptothorax albipennis

It is found that workers can use a prominent visual landmark for navigation between nest sites during colony emigration, and no evidence was found for a simpler means of visual navigation in which the ants plot a course by consistently detouring to one side of a given landmark.

Is There Teaching in Nonhuman Animals?

It is argued that adherence to conventional, narrow definitions of teaching, generally derived from observations of human adult-infant interactions, has caused many related but simpler phenomena in other species to go unstudied or unrecorded, and severely limits further exploration of this topic.

Quorum sensing, recruitment, and collective decision-making during colony emigration by the ant Leptothorax albipennis

A model shows that the quorum requirement can help a colony choose the best available site, even when few ants have the opportunity to compare sites directly, because recruiters to a given site launch the rapid transport of the bulk of the colony only if enough active ants have been "convinced" of the worth of the site.

Social organization of nest emigration inLeptothorax (Hym., Form.)

A hypothesis is discussed that the severity of the ecological conditions inside the old nest affects the behavioral threshold of workers to respond to the signals of a tandem calling nestmate.