Use of multiple cues for navigation by the leaf -cutter ant <i>Atta cephalotes</i>

2005 2005

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Abstract (summary)

In the first chapter, there is a brief introduction to ant navigation and a review of previous literature as well as a summary chapters 2–7.

In chapter 2, I examine orientation of Atta cephalotes workers in the laboratory. Laden nest-bound foragers were moved from a “bridge” with or without trail pheromone present and placed on a parallel bridge with or without pheromone.

In chapter 3, I continue to examine orientation of A. cephalotes foragers in the laboratory. Foragers walked on a single bridge and I altered various cues and contexts and recorded which manipulations caused the ants to reverse course.

In chapter 4, I put orientation cues into direct conflict by letting the ants forage on a Y-maze. Foragers that were returning to a food source preferred visual cues to odor cues while recruited foragers consistently used odor cues.

In chapter 5, I use a vertical T-maze to investigate the role that gravity plays in A. cephalotes navigation. The gravitational cue was put in direct conflict with odor cues and light cues. There was an asymmetry to the ants' response to the gravity cue in that ants returning to a food source had a tendency to go up regardless of the previous position of the food source or the position of the odor trail. Introducing a light cue changed the angle required to make the ants respond to the gravitational cue.

In chapter 6, I investigate the anatomy of A. cephalotes eyes and brains. Based on tissue sections, I measured the angles between adjacent ommatidia in the eyes, and the volumes of sub-compartments of the brain.

In chapter 7, I use the results from the other chapters to inform my speculations about the nature and neural basis of A. cephalotes navigation. I develop an hypothesis of navigation in the wild and a simple model of its neural underpinnings.

Indexing (details)

0317: Neurology
0353: Entomology
Identifier / keyword
Biological sciences; Atta cephalotes; Leaf-cutter ant; Navigation
Use of multiple cues for navigation by the leaf -cutter ant <i>Atta cephalotes</i>
Vick, Kyle Alrich
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 66/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780542183096, 0542183099
Jeka, John
University of Maryland, College Park
University location
United States -- Maryland
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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