Data from: Same length, different shapes: ants collectively choose a straight foraging path over a bent one
Bles, Olivier; Boehly, Thibault; Deneubourg, Jean Louis; Nicolis, Stamatios C. (2018), Data from: Same length, different shapes: ants collectively choose a straight foraging path over a bent one, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1f24f
In socials insects, exploration is fundamental for the discovery of food resources and determines decision-making. We investigated how the interplay between the physical characteristics of the paths leading to food sources and the way it impacts the behaviour of individual ants affects their collective decisions. Colonies of different sizes of Lasius niger had access to two equal food sources through two paths of equal length but of different geometries: One was straight between the nest and the food source, and the other involved an abrupt change of direction at the midway point (135°). Both the food sources were discovered simultaneously, but the food source at the end of the straight path was preferentially exploited by ants. Based on experimental and theoretical results, we show that a significantly shorter duration of nestbound travel on the straight path, which rapidly leads to a stronger pheromone trail, is at the origin of this preference.