Does interocular transfer occur in visual navigation by ants?

  • An Erratum to this article was published on 06 June 1985


If an animal that learns to respond to a visual stimulus presented to only one eye can continue to respond accurately when the stimulus is presented to the other eye, it is said to exhibit interocular transfer (IOT). IOT has been studied extensively in many groups of vertebrates1–11, but there is only one conclusive report of IOT in an invertebrate (Octopus)12. Here we demonstrate that an insect, the desert ant Cataglyphis, exhibits IOT when it navigates by the pattern of polarized light in the sky, but shows no IOT when it uses landmarks for orientation. This marked difference in behavioural performance may help to elucidate the neural strategies adopted by insects when using celestial (polarization) and terrestrial cues for navigation.

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Wehner, R., Müller, M. Does interocular transfer occur in visual navigation by ants?. Nature 315, 228–229 (1985).

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