Ants have different 'standards' when it comes to choosing a home

Ants have different ‘standards’ when it comes to choosing a home

Ants use collective decision-making to select the best option when choosing a new home. Until now, the exact way in which they do this has puzzled researchers. A new study, led by the University of Bristol and published in Royal Society Open Science, found that while some are happy to slum it out in anything with a roof, others are so choosy that even the equivalent of a mansion will not satisfy them.

Scientists know that ants use a 'quorum'; a certain number of ants must 'vote' for any one option before the colony as a whole makes a choice, but how do the opinions of individual ants affect this? Using , researchers from Bristol's Schools of Engineering Mathematics and Biological Sciences have demonstrated that the answer may lie in the varying 'pickiness' of ants in a colony.

The modelling found this distribution of individual 'standards' across the colony makes for a robust, but effective, method of nest choice. When the team simulated this, their results were strikingly similar to the behaviour of real , suggesting that, in insects often known for their uniformity, in this case at least, individuality may hold the key to their success.


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Field study shows group decision making not always the best

More information: "Computational model of collective nest selection by ants with heterogeneous acceptance thresholds." DOI: 10.1098/rsos.140533
Journal information: Royal Society Open Science

Citation: Ants have different 'standards' when it comes to choosing a home (2015, June 12) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-06-ants-standards-home.html
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Jun 12, 2015
I wonder if this is similar to the bees vote on a new home. The forager comes back and signals "Hi Five" and other foragers come back and also signal so how is it the new home is selected? I have never understood how the hive actually selects a new home. This http://www.npr.or...n-humans
has a better explanation as to how and why. This author says that the bee gives a "Hi Five" and then says to herself: "Its out of my hands now." Altho the author says that all bees quit after their best effort or it would gum up the works, I have read that a dancing bee has literally been shoved off the dance floor. Hmmm.

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