Ants left-favouring, but no ideology here!
Wednesday 20 September, 2017

Ants left-favouring, but no ideology here!

Published On: Wed, Dec 24th, 2014 | Entomology | By BioNews

Ants favour turning to the left rather than the other way round — but the propensity is more anatomical than ideological, reveals new research.

British researchers found that while exploring new nests, ants are more likely to turn left than right as they use their left eye to detect predators and their right to navigate.

“Also, their world is maze-like and consistently turning one way is a very good strategy to search and exit mazes,” said researcher Edmund Hunt from University of Bristol.

ant-article“Consistent turning may also help the ants to monitor nest mates during house-hunting. So perhaps leaning left is more shrewd than sinister,” Hunt said.

The researchers studied how Temnothorax albipennis ants explore nest cavities and negotiate through branching mazes.

Behavioural lateralisation in invertebrates is an important field of study because it may provide insights into the early origins of lateralisation seen in a diversity of organisms, the researchers said.

The findings appeared in the journal Biology Letters.


Edmund R. Hunt, Thomas O’Shea-Wheller, Gregory F. Albery, Tamsyn H. Bridger, Mike Gumn, Nigel R. Franks. Ants show a leftward turning bias when exploring unknown nest sites Biol. Lett.:201410 20140945;DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0945.Published 24 December 2014

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