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Improvement in collective performance with experience in ants

Langridge, Elizabeth A.; Franks, Nigel R.; Sendova-Franks, Ana B.


Elizabeth A. Langridge

Nigel R. Franks

Ana Sendova-Franks
Associate Professor in Biometry & Animal Behaviour


We show that entire ant colonies can improve their collective performance progressively when they repeat the same process. Colonies of Leptothorax albipennis can reduce their total emigration times over successive emigrations. We show that this improvement is based on experience and some memory-like process, rather than a coincidental developmental change or an increased general level of arousal. We demonstrate that the benefits of experience can be lost (i.e. forgotten) if the interval between successive emigrations is too long. We also show that the benefits of experience are more likely to be retained over a longer period if the collective performance has been repeated several times. This is a new demonstration of a process akin to learning in ants and we briefly discuss how it may involve not only improvements in individual performance but also improvements in the ways in which the ants interact with one another. © Springer-Verlag 2004.


Langridge, E. A., Franks, N. R., & Sendova-Franks, A. B. (2004). Improvement in collective performance with experience in ants. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 56(6), 523-529.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2004
Journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Print ISSN 0340-5443
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 56
Issue 6
Pages 523-529
Keywords ant, collective performance, experience, learning, Leptothorax
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