It is known that ants learn visual and olfactory elements present in their foraging area through operant conditioning (associative learning) while they forage and find food. However, how they learn the specific odorous marking of their foraging area is still unknown. Working on four colonies of Myrmica rubra LINNAEUS 1758 and two of M. sabuleti MEINERTS 1861, we showed that young ants that did not yet have the knowledge of a specific odor, become imprinted with it after being briefly in contact with it, even in the absence of older congeners or any rewards. Naïve young ants can even be artificially imprinted with an alien marking odor.
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