Dr Patrick Schultheiss ‘How Do Ants Navigate the World?’

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Thursday, 25 September 2014 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

In order to find food for the colony, ant foragers need to leave the safety of their nest and venture out into the world. Many ants rely primarily on their sense of smell to find their way from one place to another. Some, however, make good use of other senses to navigate the world. Patrick will introduce the audience to two species of Australian desert ants which rely heavily on vision. Melophorus bagoti lives in the ‘classic’ outback environment that is studded with grass tussocks and bushes, while an unnamed species of Melophorus is found in the dry and featureless salt-pans of South Australia. Another interesting group of visual navigators are the Bull ants of Australia, of which some species are active during the day and others during the night. Patrick  will investigate the different adaptations of all these ants to their respective environments and lifestyles.

Patrick was recently awarded a PhD in Animal Behaviour at Macquarie University for which he investigated the foraging and navigation behaviour of the Australian desert ant Melophorus bagoti in Central Australia. He is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Research School of Biology at ANU.