Having one eye slightly better than the other may explain ants’ left bias

Ants don't have any difficulty turning left.

An exploring ant encounters an unknown branching nest site Edmund Hunt
An exploring ant encounters an unknown branching nest site Image: Edmund Hunt

New research from the University of Bristol has now found rock ants often have one eye slightly better than the other, which could help explain why most of them prefer to turn left, given the choice.

Behavioral lateralization is the inclination to utilize a specific side of the body for specific errands. For instance, most people are correct given. While researchers used to think this was just a human characteristic, confirm for lateralization in creatures, including creepy crawlies like ants and honey bees, is winding up progressively broad.

Scientists studied whether rock ants’ turning direction was associated with how well the ants can see in either eye. Usually, ant compound eyes are composed of small structures known as ommatidia which collect light. More ommatidia in an eye contribute to better vision.

This is the first study to report a link between asymmetries in compound eyes and behavioral lateralization in insects. Scientists found that ants turning left had a tendency to have marginally more ommatidia in their correct eye, and the other way around. This might be on the grounds that they like to stroll with their second-rate eye indicating the divider, so when they go to a branch they take after the divider along to one side.

Dr. Edmund Hunt, EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow in the Department of Engineering Mathematics Collective Dynamics research group and corresponding author, said: “It is intriguing that lateralization of behavior seems to be associated with observable external asymmetries in the body.”

“This suggests that behavioral lateralization is something that is ‘hardwired’ into these animals as they develop rather than something learned through experience. It also shows that physical indicators of lateralization can be externally observable rather than hidden in the brain – and might be awaiting discovery in all sorts of animals.”

Hypothetical models of behavioral lateralization recommend that populace or settlement level arrangement of behavioral inclinations ought to create in social species that would profit by organizing their conduct. For this situation, the more unsurprising conduct would enable them to coordinate. Then again, the expenses of being more unsurprising, for example, weakness to predators, may exceed this arrangement of lateralization in non-social species.

The analysts propose a similar report ought to be completed on compound eye asymmetry amongst social and non-social types of creepy crawlies of a similar family, for example, bumblebees versus lone honey bees, to check whether it is more articulated in social species.

The paper is published online in the journal Scientific Reports.