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You are here: Home / Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References / Visual discrimination of shapes in the ant Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

Marie-Claire Cammaerts (2013)

Visual discrimination of shapes in the ant Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)


Using collective differential operant conditioning, it could be shown that workers of the species Myrmica rubra distinguish different filled shapes of similar size (e.g. a black square from a black circle, a black triangle from a black circle, and a black triangle from a black square). They are unable to discriminate hollow shapes (e.g. a rectangle from an ellipse, or a lozenge from an ellipse) of similar size. When presented with hollow shapes, M. rubra workers rely more on the length of the perimeter than on the actual shape. A hollow lozenge and rectangle of identical height and width but with a different perimeter can be partly distinguished; hollow shapes of different height and width but identical perimeter are not at all discriminated. The visual perception ability in M. rubra is weaker than in M. ruginodis but superior to that in M. sabuleti; this assessment is consistent with the eye morphology and the navigation system of the three species.

differential conditioning; filled and hollow shapes; operant conditioning; visual cues
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology