[ExI] ants again

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Mon Oct 19 16:40:19 UTC 2009

If they aren't smart in the darkness than why are they always maching one by
one down into the earth
to get out of the sun?


Nlogo1.tif Natasha Vita-More

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2009 10:13 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] ants again

spike wrote:
> This is part of what I am hoping to find out: if the ants supplement 
> their pheromone signals with visuals.  There is a difference in 
> activity levels as a function of light level, so that suggests some

It could be just temperature: being poikilothermic, insects tend to speed up
a lot when there is more heat. It is very visible here in the UK. My
nemesis, Notiophilus biguttatus, is absurdly fast during sunny days.

> Of course ants
> can navigate in zero light conditions as you found on your last visit 
> to
> California.*

But obviously they aren't very smart in the darkness :-)

> I need to study the literature to see if anyone has under any 
> circumstances managed to get one-way trails.  If so, one could perhaps 
> collect a tiny sample of the go-home pheromone, identify its chemical 
> nature, synthesize it in the lab, then spray it in a room, at which 
> time all the ants present would go home.  But if the keilbasa model is 
> true, they will not go.  If it is a non-directional food-or-home 
> single pheromone, it might make the problem worse, or could explain an 
> odd phenom that you also discovered at my own home.*

According to this paper,
the common garden ant uses isocoumarin (R)-1 for trails (and I think that is
your species). Other species have other, but somewhat similar-looking,

This paper seems to give support to the keilbasa theory, at least in one
species (the forest ant)
and this other paper argues (in a third species)
something similar. Now we just need experiments.

I'm very much an armchair entomologist... until the insects start climbing
over me. Then I turn into an entomological paparazzi.

> Anders I think you are just irresistable to bugs.

Just look at my code :-)


Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

extropy-chat mailing list
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list