Letter | Published:

Odour Trails of Acanthomyops fuliginosus

Naturevolume 166page154 (1950) | Download Citation



SINCE Bethe's1 original work on the polarization of the scent trails of the ant Acanthomyops niger, numerous theories have been put forward to explain the phenomenon. The majority, particularly those of Wasmann2, Forel3 and Brun4, resulted from work on Acanthomyops fuliginosus, a species which in Nature, unlike A. niger, forms long columns of workers going to and fro between nest and food. Polarization in these trails was claimed to arise from the individual pieces of the trail. According to Wasmann2, these were the footprints of the workers, which would have a direction implicit in them, like a human footprint.

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  1. 1

    Bethe, A., Pflügers Archiv., 70, 15 (1898).

  2. 2

    Wasmann, E., Zoologica, 11, 26 (1899).

  3. 3

    Forel, A., Rec. Zool. Suisse, 2–4 (1886).

  4. 4

    Brun, R., “Die Raumorientierung der Ameisen” (Jena, 1914).

  5. 5

    Chauvin, R., L'Année Psychologique. Mémoires Originaux “Sur l'expérience de Bethe” (1944–45).

  6. 6

    Macgregor, E. G., Behaviour, 1, 267 (1948).

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  1. Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge

    • J. D. CARTHY


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