Association, in an Ant, of a Quantity of an Element with the Time Period of Its Learning

  •  Marie-Claire Cammaerts    
  •  Roger Cammaerts    


The workers of the ant Myrmica sabuleti detain numerosity abilities, have a notion of the running time, and can acquire operant conditioning. The present work examines if, according to these skills and through conditioning, the workers of this ant can associate a learned quantity of a given element with the time period of its occurrence. We collectively trained such ants from 8 to 19 o’clock to a stand bearing a given quantity of an element and from 20 o’clock to 7 o’clock next day to a stand bearing another quantity of the same element, and we tested them in front of these two amounts at 16 o’clock and 4 o’clock next day. At 16 o’clock, the ants reacted essentially to the amount presented during training from 8 to 19 o’clock, and at 4 o’clock to the amount presented during training from 20 o’clock to 7 o’clock. They thus associated the learned quantity of an element with the period of the day during which this learning occurred. It may be argued that this association simply results from the three cognitive capabilities cited here above, and does not require any other more complex skill. In addition, the ants appeared to have better learned from 20 to 7 o’clock than from 8 to 19 o’clock, i.e., during the time of day corresponding to their period of highest natural activity.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9671
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-968X
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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