why do ants move in a straight line

Abstract:

Ants usually walk in a straight line in an organized manner for foraging.The line is the shortest route between their nest and food source.Ants use some chemical substances known as "rail pheromones"for this communication. The trail pheromones are volatile hydrocarbons and evaporates quickly.

Main Article:

  • Ants usually walk in a straight line in  an organized manner for foraging.The line is the shortest route between their nest and food source.Ants use some chemical substances known as "rail pheromones"for this  communication.
  • The trail pheromones are volatile hydrocarbons and evaporates quickly.Hence it has to be renewed continuously to keep the communication uninterrupted.Fore instance,a returning work ant with the food will leave the trail pheromone between the nest and food source.

 

 

  • This will be perceived by other worker ants that will follow this trail.Hence every worker ant returning to the nest will leave the trail pheromone from its abdominal glands and thus the concentration of trail pheromone will be maintained as long as the food source remains.Once the food source is depleted,the returning ant will not leave any trail pheromone and hence the concentration of trail pheromone in that particular path gets faded.
  • Thus the other worker ants stop following that path and look for a new source.It is interesting to note that army ants which are completely blind and live in thousands or millions,could carry out an organized massive and legendary foraging raid with the help of chemical communication including chemical pheromones.
  • If the walking line is broken due to an interruption,the following ant gets confused for a few seconds.However,these ants which are just in front of the obstacle will turn to left and right.The ant which chooses the shortest route will reconnect the broken line rapidly with the trail pheromone so that followers could resume the walking.You can check this behavior just by rubbing ants walking line with your fingers. 

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Author:  ananthu
Posted On:  Saturday, 13 October, 2012 - 13:06

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