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Recently I took this shot of a 'pack' of ants moving towards some destination, and I was wondering, is this normal? Aren't ant scouts lone wolfs, and when a viable source of food is found near the ant colony, the worker ants form a trail to facilitate transport? If so(I'm poorly versed with biology as such, being an electrical engineering student), what purpose could this formation serve, my opinion being bent on supposed predator protection. This is not the only one I've noticed, but it is new to me, and a quick google search without any technical terms to feed it, yielded nothing substantial. This is the monsoon season here in India, if it is of any consequence to this peculiar behaviour.

I'd love to found out more about this(tag edits would be helpful), thank you :Denter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ As you are engineering inclined, I would suggest you look at the Ant colonization optimization algorithm. This optimization algorithm is based for the most part on "real-life" ant behaviors and uses as a premise the pheromone-based communication of ants. $\endgroup$ – cagliari2005 Jul 4 '18 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ This looks interesting! @cagliari2005 $\endgroup$ – Abhinav Jul 4 '18 at 5:35
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This is a really wonderful phenomenon. Ants disperse far and wide, but when one of them finds food, it brings it back to the nest, and in doing so leaves a pheromone trail. The next scout follows this trail, and finds the food, and then leaves a second pheromone trail over the first one. As this continues, the trail gets stronger and recruits new ants to haul off the bounty. You can have fun with this. Take your finger and rub across the trail to erase it. Or place a piece of tape over it. This will confuse the ants for a while, until they make a new pheromone trail. If you have some time, break up a potato chip, or some other bait, and put it on the cement. Watch the first scout find it, and then leave a trail behind. Soon there will be many.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sir if I'm understanding this correctly, this is the beginning of a food trail with an initial number of ants joining it, and more would do the same eventually. I did consider this, but what was odd was that, for one, the ants were in no hurry to scuttle back, i.e. they were walking at an extremely leisurely pace, waiting for the group to reassemble, and then moving, and secondly, the fact that they were moving in a single direction barring a few ants which look like they are straying off course, but not going in the exact opposite direction as would the case with a pheromone trail be. $\endgroup$ – Abhinav Jul 4 '18 at 5:34
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    $\begingroup$ They are not in a hurry. You are correct that in a food trail, you would eventually see ants going in both directions. They may be moving away from the nest in a single line, and then dispersing later to search for food. $\endgroup$ – Karl Kjer Jul 4 '18 at 14:17

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