Models of visual navigation in ants

Andrew Philippides, Antoine Wystrach, Michael Mangan, Bart Baddeley, Paul Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Here we present a model of visually guided navigation in ants that captures the known properties of real behaviour whilst retaining mechanistic simplicity and thus biological plausibility. For an ant, the coupling of movement and viewing direction means that a familiar view specifies a familiar direction of movement. Since the views experienced along a habitual route will be more familiar, route navigation can be re-cast as a search for familiar views. This search can be performed with a simple scanning routine, a behaviour ants have been observed to perform.

We test our model in a realistic simulation of a desert ant’s environment and also with images viewed by ants during behavioural experiments. Our results indicate that, not only is the approach successful, but also that the resultant behaviour shows characteristics of the paths of ants. As such, we believe the model provides a general demonstration that visually guided routes can be produced with parsimonious mechanisms that do not specify when or what to learn, nor separate routes into sequences of waypoints. Finally, we contrast our approach with the classical ‘snapshot’ model in which views are used as attractors to a point in space. This presentation summarises results from Baddeley et al. (2012) and Wystrach et al. (2013).
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1002336
Number of pages1
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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