The Ant Odometer: Stepping on Stilts and Stumps

@article{Wittlinger2006TheAO,
  title={The Ant Odometer: Stepping on Stilts and Stumps},
  author={Matthias Wittlinger and R{\"u}diger Wehner and Harald Wolf},
  journal={Science},
  year={2006},
  volume={312},
  pages={1965 - 1967}
}
Desert ants, Cataglyphis, navigate in their vast desert habitat by path integration. They continuously integrate directions steered (as determined by their celestial compass) and distances traveled, gauged by as-yet-unknown mechanisms. Here we test the hypothesis that navigating ants measure distances traveled by using some kind of step integrator, or “step counter.” We manipulated the lengths of the legs and, hence, the stride lengths, in freely walking ants. Animals with elongated (“stilts… 
Mechanisms of three-dimensional (3D) path integration in the desert ant Cataglyphis fortis - odometry and slope detection
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This work manipulates the lengths of the legs, and hence the stride lengths, in freely walking ants to test the hypothesis that navigating ants measure distances travelled by using some kind of step integrator, or “step counter”.
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It is shown that despite the accumulating errors, even after far-reaching foraging runs path integration provides the ants with surprisingly accurate information regarding the nest position.
Path integration in a three-dimensional world: the case of desert ants
  • B. Ronacher
  • Geology
    Journal of Comparative Physiology A
  • 2020
TLDR
All current evidence suggests that Cataglyphis does not compute a vector in 3-D: path integration seems to operate exclusively in the horizontal plane, and the mechanisms by which ants may measure slopes still await clarification.
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