Do Ants Need Sunshine to Survive?
Several ants do not need sunlight to survive. However, some of these species are able to use the light to find food. Others are able to use light for navigation.
Ants are members of the Hymenoptera order, which is part of the animalia kingdom. These insects are found underground in nature. They do not need as much oxygen as humans do, but they do need water and food.
While ants are not able to see sunlight, they do have the capacity to detect the wavelengths of ultraviolet light. They can also detect blue, green, yellow, and red colors. However, the light frequencies ants detect are less direct and are not as sensitive as those of humans.
Ants have a complex set of eyes with many smaller eye-like components. Ants can also use pheromones and thermal energy to find their way. Some species also have an ability to use light to track their nuptial flight schedule.
Santschi performed the famous mirror experiment in 1911 to demonstrate that animals could use the sun as a compass. His study showed that ants could use the sun’s position to help them find their way home. However, he noticed that when the sun was in a sun-free sky, ants did not always deflect from their homeward course. This led Santschi to conclude that some ants could use optical properties of the sun-free sky to obtain compass information.
Santschi’s mirror experiment was successful for Cataglyphis ants and Messor and Monomorium ants. In addition, the study showed that ants in captivity did not associate light with danger.