Route reassessment by transporter ants improves speed and directional accuracy of cooperative transport in Formica japonica

Shumpei Hisamoto, Natsumi Hosaka, Yuka Matsunami, Hideo Iwasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Encircling cooperative transport in ants is categorized into coordinated and uncoordinated types. Coordinated cooperative transport is considered to be advantageous for ants because it transports food quickly without creating a deadlock. Contrarily, uncoordinated transport is slow and frequently becomes deadlocked. This study assessed the characteristics of uncoordinated cooperative transport, which has scarcely been studied before, through experiments performed on Formica japonica. Based on our experiment and analysis, we report that the transport speed remains unchanged with the number of transporters. We also found that pulling transporter ants often left the food item transiently as the transport speed decreased, and then went back to the item. Upon rejoining transport, the transport speed increased. This is presumably because the ants gain navigation information during the period that they leave the food. We propose that this ‘route reassessment’ behavior is important for transport coordination and navigation in F. japonica.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ethology
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1

Keywords

  • Ants
  • Backward homing
  • Collective behavior
  • Cooperative transport
  • Coordination
  • Foraging behavior
  • Navigation
  • Route reassessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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