This is one of two species of Cataglyphis (also Cataglyphis bicolor) that have had their foraging behavior, and in particular their navigation abilities, intensively studied. The results of this body of work provide a remarkable accounting of how ants, and animals in general, can track and monitor their movement in ways that allow for sophisticated decision making. These studies have examined these two ants' sensory and nervous systems, their directional abilities, use of path integration, and view-based landmark guidance, and how all of this is brought together to determine where an individual decides to move. These ants are now a model organism for the study of animal navigation. Rüdiger Wehner has been at the center of much of this Cataglyphis research. Wehner and his colleagues have been conducting seasonal fieldwork studying C. bicolor and C. fortis in the area of Mahrès, Tunisia for 50 years (Wehner 2019). The book Desert Navigator:The Journey of an Ant (Wehner 2020) provides a fascinating summary of how this work was accomplished and its many important findings.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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Penmetcha et al. (2019) - Desert ants of the genus Cataglyphis and Melophorus possess all three ocelli and are the only ants in which the function of the ocelli has been studied. Size of the ocellar lens and width of the ocellar rhabdoms in cross-section are typically larger in nocturnal insects (Warrant et al. 2006; Somanathan et al. 2009; Narendra et al. 2011; Narendra and Ribi 2017). This increases their optical sensitivity and allows individuals with larger ocelli to forage in slightly dim light conditions (Wellington 1974). The desert ants that we studied being strictly day-active had small lenses and narrow rhabdoms (in Cataglyphis spp) compared to the night-active Myrmecia.
Here we characterised the anatomical organisation of the ocelli in three species of desert ants (Cataglyphis bicolor, C. fortis, and Melophorus bagoti). Cataglyphis fortis, an ant that forages exclusively in salt-pan habitat, had a fused rhabdom. The majority of the rhabdoms were composed of 2–4 retinula cells. Some retinula cells contributing microvilli in one or more orientation, indicating those cells are unlikely to be polarisation sensitive. These results suggest that some but not all retinula cells of C. fortis are likely to detect changes in polarisation pattern.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- fortis. Myrmecocystus albicans var. fortis Forel, 1902a: 156 (w.) ALGERIA. Wehner, 1983: 95 (q.m.). [Also described as new by Forel, 1903b: 455.] Combination in Cataglyphis: Emery, 1925b: 262. Subspecies of albicans: Santschi, 1929b: 61. Raised to species and senior synonym of halophila: Wehner, 1983: 95.
- halophila. Cataglyphis halophila Bernard, 1954: 48, figs. c, f, h (w.) ALGERIA. Junior synonym of fortis: Wehner, 1983: 95.
- Aneed, I.K., Augul, R.S. & Al-Bahadyli, L.J.M. 2018. New additional records for ant fauna from Iraq. Pakistan Entomologist 40(2): 63-70.
- Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 262, Combination in Cataglyphis)
- Forel, A. 1902a. Les fourmis du Sahara algérien récoltées par M. le Professeur A. Lameere et le Dr. A. Diehl. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 46: 147-158 (page 156, worker described)
- Penmetcha, B., Y. Ogawa, W. A. Ribi, and A. Narendra. 2019. Ocellar structure of African and Australian desert ants. Journal of Comparative Physiology a-Neuroethology Sensory Neural and Behavioral Physiology. 205:699-706. doi:10.1007/s00359-019-01357-x
- Santschi, F. 1929b. Étude sur les Cataglyphis. Rev. Suisse Zool. 36: 25-70 (page 61, Stirps of albicans)
- Wahl, V., Pfeffer, S.E., Wittlinger, M. 2015. Walking and running in the desert ant Cataglyphis fortis. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 201: 645–656 (DOI 10.1007/s00359-015-0999-2).
- Wehner, R. 1983. Taxonomie, Funktionsmorphologie und Zoogeographie der saharischen Wüstenameise Cataglyphis fortis (Forel 1902) stat. nov. (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Senckenb. Biol. (n.s.) 64: 89-132 (page 95, queen, male described, raised to species, and senior synonym of halophila)
- Wehner, R. 2019. The Cataglyphis Mahresienne: 50 years of Cataglyphis research at Mahres. Journal of Comparative Physiology a-Neuroethology Sensory Neural and Behavioral Physiology. 205:641-659. doi:10.1007/s00359-019-01333-5
Wehner, R. 2020. Desert navigator:the journey of an ant. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.