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Researchers have discovered the basis for the magnetic personalities of migratory ants. These social insects integrate magnetic soil nanoparticles into their antennae to help them navigate the forests of South America, according to a study published online today (May 20) in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
...some ant species map-read by responding to geomagnetic forces.
Most ants communicate through pheromones and other chemical signals to find their way. But some ant species map-read by responding to geomagnetic forces. ...the ants collect ultra-fine-grained iron oxide and aluminum silicate crystals from the soil and incorporate them into three main joints of their antennae.
About 50 species of animals are known to use the direction of Earth's magnetic field to help them find their way, but scientists have been mystified as to how they could do it because the field seems to be too weak to have an effect on the nervous system.
...over the past few decades, scientists have found that animals ranging from birds and mammals to sea turtles and even insects can use the Earth's magnetic field either as a compass to orientate themselves in a particular direction, or as a map to help them determine their location.
Revealed: secret of how birds navigate during migration. URL