Ant physiology has been fashioned by 100 million years of social evolution. Ants perform many sophisticated social and collective behaviors yet possess nervous systems similar in schematic and scale to that of the fruit fly , a popular solitary model organism. Ants are thus attractive complementary subjects to investigate adaptations pertaining to complex social behaviors that are absent in flies. Despite research interest in ant behavior and the neurobiological foundations of sociality more broadly, our understanding of the ant nervous system is incomplete. Recent technical advances have enabled cutting-edge investigations of the nervous system in a fashion that is less dependent on model choice, opening the door for mechanistic social insect neuroscience. In this review, we revisit important aspects of what is known about the ant nervous system and behavior, and we look forward to how functional circuit neuroscience in ants will help us understand what distinguishes solitary animals from highly social ones.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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