JSU Student Symposium 2022

The Use of Pheromonal Trail Laying in the Foraging Behaviors of L. Niger


The Use of Pheromonal Trail Laying in the Foraging Behaviors of L. Niger



Faculty Mentor

Lori Tolley-Jordan, Biology


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Submission Type



3:00-3:10pm | Houston Cole Library, 11th Floor


In ants, one of the most common and significant sources of communication is through pheromones, specifically pheromone trails. For L. niger, one of the main purposes of pheromone trails is to guide foragers to previously found food sources (Czaczkes, et al. 2011). The act of L. niger laying these trails is characterized by them pressing the rectal end of their abdomen down onto the ground, walking a short distance, and picking their abdomen back up (Czaczkes, et al. 2014). These trails are used in many other activities of L. niger—including finding and exploring new nesting sites, recruiting ants to battlegrounds, and having them flee from conflict (Czaczkes, et al. 2015). The complexities of how these pheromone trails work and how they are followed shows how intricate the social systems of L. niger are and how individuals can make large impacts on their colony. L. niger is an example of a species that uses both personal information and social information from their colony to optimize their foraging experience (Czaczkes, et al. 2013). Social information is any information that is publicly available to different members of a colony, such as experienced ants directly guiding naïve ones to a place of interest, pheromone trails, and home range markings, which are the long-term pheromones that are regularly placed around a nest (Forster, et al. 2014). In this paper, we will discuss Lasius Niger, a social species that sees foraging as a group effort. They will make efforts to both lay pheromone trails to effective food sources and control the amount of crowding to food sources so that optimum efficiency is reached for foraging.


student research, biology


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The Use of Pheromonal Trail Laying in the Foraging Behaviors of L. Niger