Data for research article "The interaction of path integration and terrestrial visual cues in navigating desert ants: what can we learn from path characteristics?"

<p><b>Raw data for article appearing in the Journal of Experimental Biology</b></p><p>Data shows the coordinates of paths that ants took in 3 separate experiments. Experiment 1: Walking speeds of ants during homing paths and nest searches. Experiment 2: Observing ants’ responses to visual novelty. Experiment 3: Observing interactions between path integration and visual guidance.</p> <p> </p> <p>Path coordinates are provided as Matlab files (see XtransfSmoothed and YtransfSmoothed in path structure) when extracted from high-speed movies. You will need access to the Matlab environment to view these files. Path coordinates are provided as text documents when extracted from paper recordings. </p><p><br></p><p><b>Abstract from research paper</b></p><p>Ant foragers make use of multiple navigational cues to navigate through the world and the combination of innate navigational strategies and the learning of environmental information is the secret of their navigational success. We present here detailed information about the paths of <i>Cataglyphis fortis</i> desert ants navigating by an innate strategy, namely path integration. Firstly, we observe that the ants’ walking speed decreases significantly along their homing paths, such that they slow down just before reaching the goal, and maintain a slower speed during subsequent search paths. Interestingly, this drop in walking speed is independent of absolute home-vector length and depends on the proportion of the home vector that was completed. Secondly, we find that ants are influenced more strongly by novel or altered visual cues the further along their homing path they are. These results suggest that path integration modulates speed along the homing path in a way that might help ants search for, utilise or learn environmental information at important locations. Ants walk more slowly and sinuously when encountering novel or altered visual cues and occasionally stop and scan the world, this might indicate the re-learning of visual information.</p><p><br></p>