Open Access: CC BY 4.0


Zeil, J. & Fleischmann, P.N.

Year: 2019


The learning walks of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Journal: Myrmecological News

Volume: 29

Pages: 93-110

Type of contribution: Review Article

Supplementary material: No


When transitioning from in-nest duties to their foraging life outside the nest, ants perform a series of highly choreo-graphed learning walks around the nest entrance, before leaving to forage for the first time. These learning walks have been described in detail only for a few species of ants, but a pattern of similarities and differences is emerging that we review here with an emphasis on understanding the functional significance of this learning process for efficient homing in ants. We compare the organization of learning walks in ants with that of the learning flights in bees and wasps and provide a list of key research questions that would need to be tackled if we are to understand the role of learning walks in the acquisition of nest-location information, the evolution of this highly conserved learning process, and how it is controlled.

Open access, licensed under CC BY 4.0. © 2019 The Author(s).

Key words: Visual navigation, visual learning and memory, homing, celestial compass, magnetic compass, landmark guidance, review.

Publisher: The Austrian Society of Entomofaunistics

ISSN: 1997-3500