Running speeds of Myrmica punctiventris and Aphaenogaster rudis workers were measured, and a good correspondence between laboratory and field behaviour was obtained. In the laboratory, foraging tempo and foraging efficiency were calculated for two colony sizes and five patterns of prey availability. Running speeds were strongly dependent on colony size for both species; when retrieving prey, foragers from large colonies ran significantly faster than those from small colonies. In addition, ants searching for prey ran more slowly than those returning to the nest with prey. Efficiency, measured as the propensity to return to the nest in a straight line, was most strongly a function of distance from the nest. Finally, no relationship between an ant's speed and its efficiency of return was found. © 1986.
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