Daniel Kronauer and Asaf Gal have developed a new experimental setup for a thorough analysis
As reported in Proceedings of theNational Academy of Sciences, they found that when a colony evacuates due to a rise in temperature, its decision depends on both the magnitude of the temperature rise and the size of the ant group.
The data obtained indicate thatants combine sensory information with their group parameters to arrive at a group response, a process similar to neural computation leading to decision making.
"We first applied the approach to understandingan ant colony as a cognitive-like system that takes input and then translates it into behavioral outputs,” says Kronauer, head of the Social Evolution and Behavior Laboratory. “This is one of the first steps to understanding how insect communities participate in collective decisions.” .