Ants on a Treadmill

Home-Treadmill has reported on wolves, shrimp, salamanders, fish, penguins, kiwis, and other creatures on treadmills, but this one may be the best yet – ants.

It seems that scientists at the Institute of Neurology in Germany thought it would be a good idea to find out exactly how ants find their way home. So a one-direction treadmill wouldn’t do. They developed an omni-directional unit that allows the ant to move in whatever direction it wants on a ball, similar in concept to the treadmills used in virtual reality games. Sensors in the ball tracked the ants’ movements. Dental floss was attached to the ant’s back and pins held the ant in place from the top. See the photo below:

The conclusion of the study was that when ants fee lost, they slow down and then move in loops. To read the study, see the Journal of Experimental Biology.

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