University of Sussex
2 files

Data for research article "Impact of central complex lesions on innate and learnt visual navigation in ants"

Data for paper published in the Journal of Comparative Physiology A (published 15th Feb 2023)

Data contains paths from individually recorded ants during the experiments (saved as Matlab files). You will need access to the MATLAB environment to view the .MAT files.

For details please see the README.txt file and view the experiment methods in the paper.


Wood ants are excellent navigators using a combination of innate and learnt navigational strategies to travel between their nest and feeding sites. Visual navigation in ants has been studied extensively, however, we have little direct evidence for the underlying neural mechanisms. Here we perform lateralized mechanical lesions in the central complex (CX) of wood ants, a midline structure known to allow an insect to keep track of the direction of sensory cues relative to its own orientation and to control movement. We lesioned two groups of ants and observed their behaviour in an arena with a large visual landmark present. The first group of ants were naïve and when intact such ants show a clear innate attraction to a conspicuous landmark. The second group of ants were trained to aim to a food location to the side of the landmark. The general heading of naïve ants towards a visual cue was not altered by the lesions, but the heading of ants trained to a landmark adjacent food position was affected. Thus CX lesions had a specific impact on learnt visual guidance. We also observed that lateralised lesions altered the fine details of turning with lesioned ants spending less time turning to the side ipsilateral of the lesion. The results confirm the role of CX in turn control and highlight the important role of the CX in the implementation of learnt behaviours that rely on information from other brain regions. 


Visual navigation in ants: from visual ecology to brain

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

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