Ours> easily to observe as single units & as group behaviour Visual- seeing the movement patterns, the lines/trails they make through space Visual- the tunnels that they make in dirt/sand Sound observations- could set up microphone to hear their movements/scratching Ant senses> the communicate with each other via smell to create trails that they follow.
We could possibly communicate with them through smell to encourage them or discourage them (such as using substances such as cinnamon to interrupt their scent paths) Their strongest senses are through taste and smell, so those would probably be the best ways to interact and communicate with them. Those are also very fast-acting senses so would have an almost immediate reaction time.
The create really interesting spaces themselves, that are very unique forms, tunnels… The walk in specific trails that are very recognisable. They are almost like individual pixels moving around, and coming together.
There is a strong repulsion in some people, often physical/tactile sensory memories towards ants Many people have personal experience of ants from the outdoors, and as invasive species in home environments (so as a pest to be eliminated for many people). The as a group they have a lot of power in the environment- by working together as a collective the shape environments, build structures, etc. They are associated with collaboration and group work. They also have strong divisions of roles/categories within their colonies, with queen, worker, soldier, etc.
Ants usually are given less ethical concern than larger and cuter organisms. Ants are regularly killed/poisoned by people as nuisances, so there is societally there is clearly less concern for their welfare. Nonetheless they would deserve to be treated humanely, and given good living conditions in a tank with adequate food/water/living material (sand? soil?) in the lab. We ethically should take care to not be harming them or killing intentionally.
One of the class participants has some ant specimens available that could be used in a project this semester. We would need a glass container for the ants, food (sugar water) and nesting material. There would also be some concern and caution taken to not let them escape in the lab and then into the rest of the building. We would also have to be careful that they do not escape and interfere with / influence other setups and projects within the laboratory.