How do Ants work together?
1. There is no leader -- all decisions are made in an entirely distributed fashion. The queen lays eggs and plays no commanding or centralized role in the behavior of the colony.
2. Form and function are one -- ants make decisions based upon their experience of their environment, and their behavior changes their environment. Thus individual behavior (function) is dynamically in feedback with the structure of the ecosystem or nest (form).
How do ants find food?
1. It depends on the ecology -- where food sources are bonanza-like, you expect to see trail pheromone recruitment (like the Argentine ants). However when food sources are scattered and sparse, like the seeds sought after by red harvester ants, you do not see trail pheromone recruitment.
2. You have to lose it to find it -- if ants never followed trails, they wouldn't get anywhere together. But if ants never deviated from trails, they would never find anything new. There is a balance to be struck between the new and the old.
This image was created in google slides, for a Stanford program focused on science/art outreach.