AUG 06, 2019 04:43 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
JAN 18, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 18, 2020
Zebrafish Development Thwarted by Blocked Cannabinoids
Cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) are vital pieces of the puzzle for the ECS to function correctly; the ECS needs cannabinoid recep...
JAN 18, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
JAN 18, 2020
How Nature Creates a Multitude of Leaf Shapes
Different plants exhibit leaves with very diverse shapes, and now scientists know how nature does it....
JAN 18, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 18, 2020
Florida's Manatees Are a Conservation Success Story
Manatees are be a common sight for Floridians who reside close to rivers and other natural waterways, but there was once a time when that wasn’t the...
JAN 18, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 18, 2020
Is Cannabis Helping America Sleep?
Researchers find cannabis is being used as a sleep-aid in Colorado. Many Americans struggle with sleep disturbances -- some estimates put the percentage at...
JAN 18, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 18, 2020
The Science Behind Christmas
The holiday season is upon us, and to wrap-up the year and get you into the holiday spirit, we are dedicating the last infographic to Christmas. After all, what's a better way to celebrate...
JAN 18, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 18, 2020
Baby Penguins Are Often Bullied to Death by Adults
Most people envision penguins as fun, happy-go-lucky birds residing in the Earth’s chilly polar regions, but that’s not always the case. In fac...
Loading Comments...