Simulating the evolution of ant behaviour in evaluating nest sites

JAR Marshall, T Kovacs, AR Dornhaus, NR Franks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


When an ant colony needs to find a new nest, scouts are sent out to evaluate the suitability of potential sites, particularly their size. It has been suggested that ant scouts of Leptothorax albipennis use a simple heuristic known as Buffon's needle to evaluate nest size. They do this in two stages: first laying a pheromone trail in the nest site, then, after returning to the old nest, coming and wandering within the site assessing frequency of intersection with the pheromone trail (""two-pass"" strategy). If a colony is forced to relocate from its current nest due to destruction of that nest, the time required to find a suitable new nest may be crucial. This report details preliminary results from a computer simulation model of evaluation of nest size. The model aims to study why a ""two-pass"" strategy is used by ants when a ""one-pass"" strategy, in which the ant simultaneously lays pheromone and assesses the frequency at which it encounters its own trail, may be more time efficient. Analysis of the results indicates no clear advantage for the ""two-pass"" strategy, given the assumptions of the model. Possible implications of this result are discussed.
Translated title of the contributionSimulating the evolution of ant behaviour in evaluating nest sites
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown
Pages643 - 650
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003

Bibliographical note

Conference Proceedings/Title of Journal: Advances in Artificial Life - Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL)


Dive into the research topics of 'Simulating the evolution of ant behaviour in evaluating nest sites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this