To find a way ants use a mathematical approach

23.04.2013

As the light is used for the movement of ants not the shortest and fastest way.

 




A recent study found that fire ants can pass on a certain, chosen surface in order to reduce the total time of the path, and not to reduce the distance. Scientists claim that this discovery will shed light on the social self-organization of these insects.

In optics, a ray of light passing from one point to another, "choose" the path that requires the least time, even if the distance is very short — it is generally known as the Fermat's principle.

In the study, researchers collected fire ant colonies with Israel. In each colony, there were thousands of worker ants and several queens. Ants were placed in one corner of the cage, and cockroach bait in the other corner. To get to cockroaches, ants had to cross the area full of various obstacles include soft and coarse felt, as well as glass surfaces. Moreover, at different stages of the study the obstacles were placed in pairs next to each other — glass with a coarse felt, glass next to a soft felt, and felt rough paired with soft. The fastest ants crossing the glass surface, and the movement on the soft felt it took them less time than on hard. On the way to the bait ants do not follow a particular path, and chose a smooth material to spend less time on it. Thus, the study confirms that Fermat's principle holds in relation to living beings.

To find out how the ants rely on pheromones. Researchers believe that the original chemical trace chosen randomly, but later turns into a full route. This process illustrates a model of self-organization and evolution, because of all the possible ways to choose the fastest insects.

Study leader Ian Otler (Jan Oettler) from the University of Regensburg (Germany) said that they were able to find an algorithm of movement of insects, which is based on pheromones and social vzaimodeystvii.Odnako on the shorter distances ants were unable to find the quickest way possible, because of the abundance pheromones nearby.

Scientists have long known that the search for food ants choose the shortest way to save time and effort. For example, harvester ants avoid the path with an abundance of vegetation, and red ants prefer to move horizontally, not vertically.

 

S. Vasilenko

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