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The organ we have to provide us with current acceleration information is quite complicated. Because an ant queen didn't seem to notice when I picked up the bottle she was in, I have a suspicion that ants don't really care about acceleration and therefore can't tell where it's up and where it's down.

Am I right? If not, how do they sense acceleration?

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  • $\begingroup$ can you explain what you mean by The organ we have to provide us with current acceleration information is quite complicated? its confusing sentence. $\endgroup$ – user13107 Jul 14 '14 at 2:03
  • $\begingroup$ The organ is complicated. - talking about human organ that detects acceleration. $\endgroup$ – Tomáš Zato Jul 14 '14 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ If you snorkel with weights on you find that the buoyant force of water nearly matches the pulls of gravity. It's easy to become disoriented even though we are quite sensitive to the acceleration of gravity. Ants may have a similar issue because their mass is very small and the acceleration of gravity is unlikely to cause them injury. But an insect which carries large loads and walks probably has an acute sense of gravitational acceleration, even if it's tuned in a different way. $\endgroup$ – daniel Jul 15 '14 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I misinterpreted your question. I have removed my answer, which is now available in two different question. biology.stackexchange.com/a/19678/8186 and biology.stackexchange.com/q/19677/8186 $\endgroup$ – Devashish Das Jul 15 '14 at 4:29
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According to Clinical Neurophysiology of the Vestibular System By Robert William Baloh, Vicente Honrubia, page 8, the vestibular system (animals' "accelerometer") is as old as 600 million years and is present in invertebrates.

I assume (without a precise source) that this is especially important for flying insects (after all, accelerometers were engineered for flying machines in the first place!) and that the ant didn't respond because the acceleration to which you submitted it was not deemed harmful.

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  • $\begingroup$ I hope somebody will find a research which proves that. Thanks for your input. $\endgroup$ – Tomáš Zato Jul 15 '14 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ You can find a lot of data searching for "flight control" for insects. Concerning the decision whether to react or not to an acceleration input, it is probably to be found in cognitive science publications. Maybe you should ask another question about it, as it is not linked with ''feeling'' acceleration but to cognitive decision-making. $\endgroup$ – Joce Jul 16 '14 at 7:33

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