Can altered magnetic field affect the foraging behaviour of ants?

Autoři: Márlon César Pereira aff001;  Ingrid de Carvalho Guimarães aff002;  Daniel Acosta-Avalos aff004;  William Fernando Antonialli Junior aff001
Působiště autorů: Programa de Pós-graduação em Entomologia e Conservação da Biodiversidade, Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados, Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil aff001;  Laboratório de Ecologia Comportamental, Center of Studies on Natural Resources, Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso do Sul, Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil aff002;  Programa de Pós-graduação em Recursos Naturais, Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso do Sul, Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil aff003;  Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225507


Social insects such as ants can use geomagnetic field information in orientation and navigation tasks. However, few studies have assessed the effect of magnetic fields on aspects such as orientation and decision making during foraging of ants. Therefore, the present study aims to test the hypothesis that foragers of different species of ants with different foraging strategies when under effect of applied magnetic field change the patterns of search for resources and recruitment of ants. We used two species with solitary foraging strategy, Ectatomma brunneum and Neoponera inversa, and another with mass recruitment, Pheidole sp. The experiments were performed in field and laboratory conditions. We used some parameters for comparison such as speed, distance and time during foraging in the field and laboratory experiments, under normal and applied magnetic field with the coils on and off. We also performed SQUID magnetometry analysis for all species. The results demonstrate that changes in normal values of magnetic field affect workers behaviour of the three species. Thus, we can conclude that ants under the effect of applied magnetic fields can suffer significant changes in their foraging activities decreasing the flow of workers, increasing the travelled distance from the nest to the resource and back to the nest, in addition to time and distance to fetch the resource and decision-making, in both types of species, those which have mass recruitment, or forage individually, and that the three species are magnetosensitive, being affected by changes of low intensity in the local magnetic field.

Klíčová slova:

Ants – Decision making – Foraging – Magnetic fields – Nanoparticles – Social systems – Geomagnetism


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