AUG 06, 2019 4:43 PM PDT

These Desert Ants Use the Sun to Return Home After Foraging

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

At first glance, the Sahara Desert looks devoid of any life, and that’s a logical inference given the region’s astronomical daytime temperatures. But a closer look at the ground reveals quite the contrary: a network of tiny ants that make a living by foraging the desert for dead insects that have already succumbed to the heat.

These ants leave their colonies and immediately begin spinning in circles with each stop. It looks like an entirely randomized foraging technique, but the ants are actually calibrating their location with respect to the colony they just left. They use the polarized light emitted by the Sun to do this, and it works much like a compass when it comes time to make their way back.

Upon finding something that looks edible, the ant grabs ahold of it and darts in a straight line back to the colony. Being that they already know where they came from, they don’t have to be too careful as they return, and this helps prevent the ants themselves from succumbing to the desert’s intense heat.

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 05, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Past extinction events due to temperature changes might not repeat for the future
AUG 05, 2022
Past extinction events due to temperature changes might not repeat for the future
In a recent study published in Biogeosciences, Professor Emeritus Kunio Kaiho of Tohoku University conducted a quantitat ...
AUG 15, 2022
Neuroscience
COVID-19 Lockdowns Expanded Bird Habitats in Cities
AUG 15, 2022
COVID-19 Lockdowns Expanded Bird Habitats in Cities
Researchers found that reduced human activity due to COVID-19 lockdowns expanded bird populations' range of habitats ...
AUG 18, 2022
Plants & Animals
Rhodiola Rosea Root Helpful for Managing Diabetes
AUG 18, 2022
Rhodiola Rosea Root Helpful for Managing Diabetes
Diabetes is becoming an increasingly common condition. Over 30 million people have diabetes in the U.S, while only 20% o ...
AUG 24, 2022
Microbiology
This Bizarre Spiky Sack Turns Out Not to be Our Earliest Ancestor
AUG 24, 2022
This Bizarre Spiky Sack Turns Out Not to be Our Earliest Ancestor
It was once hypothesized that a strange, microscopic creature called Saccorhytus, a spiked animal with no anus, was the ...
AUG 26, 2022
Plants & Animals
Ultra-processed Foods Have a Significant Impact on Mental Health
AUG 26, 2022
Ultra-processed Foods Have a Significant Impact on Mental Health
Processed foods are a ubiquitous part of Western diets. The vast majority of packaged foods in the U.S. are processed. I ...
SEP 03, 2022
Plants & Animals
Predicting Disease Transmission Between Humans and Animals
SEP 03, 2022
Predicting Disease Transmission Between Humans and Animals
Disease transmission between animals and humans has become more common over the last few years. The recent monkeypox and ...
Loading Comments...