News Stories

Bug Walk

Bees use visual cues to find flowers with nectar and do a "bee dance" back at the hive to tell the others where to find them too. Once ants find a good source of food, they also return to the nest to tell others about it, but scientists have always wondered how ants, who often navigate in the dark, are able to find their way back home from their food hunting expeditions. It turns out they count their steps.

In LiveScience.com, Bjorn Carey writes that in order to test this theory, researchers glued stilts to the legs of some ants, so their stride would be longer. Then they cut off the legs of others, to make their stride shorter. Both took the same number of steps on their way to the food, although the ones on stilts passed it and the ones on stumps didn't make it all the way. But both groups soon adjusted their strides, and began reaching the goal accurately again. They often run relay races to get there.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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