A Very Antsy Experiment

Ethan Ruiz & Chris Arzate


Where will each of the 20 ants end up at 60 seconds within time intervals of 10 seconds of waiting for them to gain a preference from the four selected food item through biological and physiological means?


If the ants along with the food items within the time range serve the purpose of achieving our designated animal behavior we expect the ants should prefer a weaker smell over a strong smell and a sweeter taste to a meatier taste because of the sensitivity of their chemoreceptors (In more general terms, a chemosensor detects certain chemical stimuli in the environment.) in smell and taste.

Manipulated Variable

The manipulated variable or independent variable are the four food items which are vinegar, oil, meat, and sugar. That being so because they are the items that do not depend on any other variable. More importantly, it is the variable that you can manipulate ahead of time by either decreasing it usage or increasing it.

Range Used

The range to be used will apply to how much of the substance we put out from the four food items. It will be a drop of the liquids and a piece of the solids. This will be within the time range of 0-60 seconds.


The control, which is an experiment or observation designed to minimize the effects of variables other than the manipulative variable, will be set up to where the lighting, time , and the amount of ants are used in a sense to where they do not manipulate the four food items too drastically.

Constant Factors

The 3 constant factors used in our experiment will be time in seconds up to sixty seconds within a hiatus of 10 seconds, the lighting will be the same around the whole room and the amount of ants will remain unchanged at 20.


Vinegar, Meat, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Petri Dish, Ants, Dropper.

Procedure: Manipulated Variable Procedure

The vinegar, meat, sugar and vegetable oil will be placed an equal distance away from the ants in the petri dishes about a foot away in order of ants to sense the food items.

Control Procedure

The lighting, 20 ants, and the 60 second time slot with 10 second intervals are used in the sense where they have the least effect and outcome on the manipulated variable to minimize change to make the experiment more reliable.

Post Lab Data: Data-Analysis-Results


Meat-10 ants/0s, 11 ants/10s, 11 ants/20s, 11 ants/30s, 11 ants/40s, 11 ants/50s, 11 ants/60s

Sugar-10 ants/0s, 9 ants/10s, 9 ants/20s, 9 ants/30s, 9 ants/40s, 9 ants/50s, 9 ants/60s

Oil-10 ants/0s, 9 ants/10s, 8 ants/20s, 8 ants/30s, 8 ants/40s, 6 ants/50s, 5 ants/60s

Apple Cider Vinegar- 10 ants/0s, 11 ants/10s, 12 ants/20s, 12 ants/30s, 12 ants/40s, 14 ants/50s, 15 ants/60s


The ants within the first experiment made a slight preference to the meat rather than the sugar. This gives us a glance at what the ants behavior may be like in the wild in which they may prefer a meatier meal to a sugary one. In the second experiment over time the ants made a drastic change in their behavior by making a preference to the vinegar from the oil. The reason being is more than likely the chemoreceptors picked up on the vinegar easier due to its pungent and acerbic smell.

Results: Chi-Squared Test



Chi-Squared: .2/Failed to Reject Hypothesis



Chi-Squared: 1.422222224/Failed to Reject Hypothesis


In the grand scope of things, the ants actually preferred a stronger smell over a weaker smell. Through reason we see that why they preferred vinegar was because the vinegar had a very strong scent that the ants picked up quicker on making them choose it over the oil which had a faded scent. With the meat and the sugar, there is a very minute change in preference the ants liked the meatier taste over a sugary one. In the meat and sugar they seemed stay in the same spot and failed to do anything, perhaps next time instead of using plastic dishes some dirt can be added to give them a more familiar environment to move around.