Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Workers of the ant Myrmica sabuleti have been previously shown to be able to add and subtract numbers of elements and to expect the time and location of the next food delivery. We wanted to know if they could anticipate the following quantity of elements present near their food when the number of these elements increases or decreases over time according to an arithmetic sequence. Two experiments were therefore carried out, one with an increasing sequence, the other with a decreasing sequence. Each experiment consisted of two steps, one for the ants to learn the numbers of elements successively present near their food, the other to test their choice when they were simultaneously in the presence of the numbers from a previously learned sequence and the following quantity. The ants anticipated the following quantity in each presented numerical sequence. This forethinking of the next quantity applies to numerosity, thus, to concrete items. This anticipatory behavior may be explained by associative learning and by the ants’ ability to memorize events and to estimate the elapsing time.