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Dung beetles ignore landmarks for straight-line orientation

Dacke, Marie LU ; Byrne, Marcus; Smolka, Jochen LU ; Warrant, Eric LU and Baird, Emily LU (2012) In Journal of Comparative Physiology A 199. p.17-23
Abstract
Upon locating a suitable dung pile, ball-rolling

dung beetles shape a piece of dung into a ball and roll it

away in a straight line. This guarantees that they will not

return to the dung pile, where they risk having their ball

stolen by other beetles. Dung beetles are known to use

celestial compass cues such as the sun, the moon and the

pattern of polarised light formed around these light sources

to roll their balls of dung along straight paths. Here, we

investigate whether terrestrial landmarks have any influence

on straight-line orientation in dung beetles. We find

that the removal or re-arrangement of landmarks has no

effect on the... (More)
Upon locating a suitable dung pile, ball-rolling

dung beetles shape a piece of dung into a ball and roll it

away in a straight line. This guarantees that they will not

return to the dung pile, where they risk having their ball

stolen by other beetles. Dung beetles are known to use

celestial compass cues such as the sun, the moon and the

pattern of polarised light formed around these light sources

to roll their balls of dung along straight paths. Here, we

investigate whether terrestrial landmarks have any influence

on straight-line orientation in dung beetles. We find

that the removal or re-arrangement of landmarks has no

effect on the beetle’s orientation precision. Celestial compass

cues dominate straight-line orientation in dung beetles

so strongly that, under heavily overcast conditions or when

prevented from seeing the sky, the beetles can no longer

orient along straight paths. To our knowledge, this is the

only animal with a visual compass system that ignores the

extra orientation precision that landmarks can offer. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Dung beetle, Scarabaeidae, Scarabaeinae, Landmark, Orientation
in
Journal of Comparative Physiology A
volume
199
pages
17 - 23
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000313048700002
  • scopus:84871935262
ISSN
1432-1351
DOI
10.1007/s00359-012-0764-8
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c7bc5011-e166-4874-87e8-84eab7b595e6 (old id 3132010)
alternative location
http://www.springerlink.com/content/6l7vrk3w88043k7w/fulltext.pdf
date added to LUP
2012-10-29 12:32:35
date last changed
2017-10-22 03:24:24
@article{c7bc5011-e166-4874-87e8-84eab7b595e6,
  abstract     = {Upon locating a suitable dung pile, ball-rolling<br/><br>
dung beetles shape a piece of dung into a ball and roll it<br/><br>
away in a straight line. This guarantees that they will not<br/><br>
return to the dung pile, where they risk having their ball<br/><br>
stolen by other beetles. Dung beetles are known to use<br/><br>
celestial compass cues such as the sun, the moon and the<br/><br>
pattern of polarised light formed around these light sources<br/><br>
to roll their balls of dung along straight paths. Here, we<br/><br>
investigate whether terrestrial landmarks have any influence<br/><br>
on straight-line orientation in dung beetles. We find<br/><br>
that the removal or re-arrangement of landmarks has no<br/><br>
effect on the beetle’s orientation precision. Celestial compass<br/><br>
cues dominate straight-line orientation in dung beetles<br/><br>
so strongly that, under heavily overcast conditions or when<br/><br>
prevented from seeing the sky, the beetles can no longer<br/><br>
orient along straight paths. To our knowledge, this is the<br/><br>
only animal with a visual compass system that ignores the<br/><br>
extra orientation precision that landmarks can offer.},
  author       = {Dacke, Marie and Byrne, Marcus and Smolka, Jochen and Warrant, Eric and Baird, Emily},
  issn         = {1432-1351},
  keyword      = {Dung beetle,Scarabaeidae,Scarabaeinae,Landmark,Orientation},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {17--23},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Journal of Comparative Physiology A},
  title        = {Dung beetles ignore landmarks for straight-line orientation},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00359-012-0764-8},
  volume       = {199},
  year         = {2012},
}