Table of Contents
ISRN Entomology
Volume 2013, Article ID 792891, 6 pages
Research Article

Trail following Learning by Young Myrmica rubra Workers (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

Faculté des Sciences, DBO, CP 160/12, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 50 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium

Received 31 July 2013; Accepted 1 September 2013

Academic Editors: F. C. Abdalla, W. Brown, P. A. Calatayud, and J. Rojas

Copyright © 2013 Marie-Claire Cammaerts. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ants use chemical trails, laid down on the ground, for recruiting congeners and helping them to return to the nest. The present work shows that young ants, less than one year old, though obviously reacting to the trail pheromone, are unable to efficiently follow a trail. These young ants begin to better walk along a trail when being in presence of trail following older congeners. Later on, they can by themselves rather efficiently follow a trail. Queens removed from their nest correctly move along a trail. The knowledge of the trail pheromone is thus native, while the trail following behavior is both partly native and partly learned. The latter learning is rapid and may be induced and/or enhanced by older trail following nestmates.