Complex trails and simple algorithms in ant foraging

T. R. Stickland, N. F. Britton, N. R. Franks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-organization can account for certain patterns of behaviour in social insects, and simple rules of interaction between individuals can lead to emergent patterns in the colony. We demonstrate algorithms that enable an ant colony to solve complex path choice problems. It is possible for the colony to select one foraging site out of many without any global knowledge or comparative judgements by individual ants. We show how this can lead to a greatly enhanced probability of each forage returning to the nest with food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1357
Publication statusPublished - 1995


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