Knowhow team explains: When it comes to finding the way to hidden food, no creature can beat ants. And if the food happens to be sweet, there’s no way you can keep it out of an ant’s reach.
Ants moving towards sugar grains in neat lines is a familiar sight in most households. When an ant stumbles upon food, it doesn’t remember where it is. It follows scent trails to and from it. To find food, other ants follow these trails.
The scent trail is actually laid with the help of certain biochemicals known as pheromones. Pheromones produced by a species serve as a stimulus for other individuals of the same species for one or more behavioural responses. Pheromone trails can be easily recognised by ants and lead them from their nest to the food.
The interesting fact about ants making their way to food is that they follow the shortest path. The first set of ants travelling towards food choose a way at random. They leave pheromone trails behind them and newly arriving ants will choose the most ‘pungent’ path which tends to be the shortest.
The longer paths disappear as the pheromone evaporates. What eventually happens is that ants begin to crawl towards the food and back from it in a single file.
Hence, you will rarely see an ant wandering off track and losing its way.
The question was sent by
Subhash Parira from Balasore