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The role of the sun in the celestial compass of dung beetles.

Dacke, Marie LU ; el Jundi, Basil LU ; Smolka, Jochen LU ; Byrne, Marcus and Baird, Emily LU (2014) In Royal Society of London. Philosophical Transactions B. Biological Sciences 369(1636).
Abstract
Recent research has focused on the different types of compass cues available to ball-rolling beetles for orientation, but little is known about the relative precision of each of these cues and how they interact. In this study, we find that the absolute orientation error of the celestial compass of the day-active dung beetle Scarabaeus lamarcki doubles from 16° at solar elevations below 60° to an error of 29° at solar elevations above 75°. As ball-rolling dung beetles rely solely on celestial compass cues for their orientation, these insects experience a large decrease in orientation precision towards the middle of the day. We also find that in the compass system of dung beetles, the solar cues and the skylight cues are used together and... (More)
Recent research has focused on the different types of compass cues available to ball-rolling beetles for orientation, but little is known about the relative precision of each of these cues and how they interact. In this study, we find that the absolute orientation error of the celestial compass of the day-active dung beetle Scarabaeus lamarcki doubles from 16° at solar elevations below 60° to an error of 29° at solar elevations above 75°. As ball-rolling dung beetles rely solely on celestial compass cues for their orientation, these insects experience a large decrease in orientation precision towards the middle of the day. We also find that in the compass system of dung beetles, the solar cues and the skylight cues are used together and share the control of orientation behaviour. Finally, we demonstrate that the relative influence of the azimuthal position of the sun for straight-line orientation decreases as the sun draws closer to the horizon. In conclusion, ball-rolling dung beetles possess a dynamic celestial compass system in which the orientation precision and the relative influence of the solar compass cues change over the course of the day. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
orientation, solar compass, polarized light, dung beetle, vision, navigation
in
Royal Society of London. Philosophical Transactions B. Biological Sciences
volume
369
issue
1636
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • pmid:24395963
  • wos:000332465800005
  • scopus:84891635740
ISSN
1471-2970
DOI
10.1098/rstb.2013.0036
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
02d893a6-7467-404a-926e-ce9723b0be46 (old id 4291974)
date added to LUP
2014-03-11 16:10:40
date last changed
2017-10-22 03:32:31
@article{02d893a6-7467-404a-926e-ce9723b0be46,
  abstract     = {Recent research has focused on the different types of compass cues available to ball-rolling beetles for orientation, but little is known about the relative precision of each of these cues and how they interact. In this study, we find that the absolute orientation error of the celestial compass of the day-active dung beetle Scarabaeus lamarcki doubles from 16° at solar elevations below 60° to an error of 29° at solar elevations above 75°. As ball-rolling dung beetles rely solely on celestial compass cues for their orientation, these insects experience a large decrease in orientation precision towards the middle of the day. We also find that in the compass system of dung beetles, the solar cues and the skylight cues are used together and share the control of orientation behaviour. Finally, we demonstrate that the relative influence of the azimuthal position of the sun for straight-line orientation decreases as the sun draws closer to the horizon. In conclusion, ball-rolling dung beetles possess a dynamic celestial compass system in which the orientation precision and the relative influence of the solar compass cues change over the course of the day.},
  articleno    = {20130036},
  author       = {Dacke, Marie and el Jundi, Basil and Smolka, Jochen and Byrne, Marcus and Baird, Emily},
  issn         = {1471-2970},
  keyword      = {orientation,solar compass,polarized light,dung beetle,vision,navigation},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1636},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Royal Society of London. Philosophical Transactions B. Biological Sciences},
  title        = {The role of the sun in the celestial compass of dung beetles.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0036},
  volume       = {369},
  year         = {2014},
}