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Neuroarchitecture of the dung beetle central complex

el Jundi, Basil LU ; Warrant, Eric J. LU ; Pfeiffer, Keram and Dacke, Marie LU (2018) In Journal of Comparative Neurology 526(16). p.2612-2630
Abstract

Despite their tiny brains, insects show impressive abilities when navigating over short distances during path integration or during migration over thousands of kilometers across entire continents. Celestial compass cues often play an important role as references during navigation. In contrast to many other insects, South African dung beetles rely exclusively on celestial cues for visual reference during orientation. After finding a dung pile, these animals cut off a piece of dung from the pat, shape it into a ball and roll it away along a straight path until a suitable place for underground consumption is found. To maintain a constant bearing, a brain region in the beetle's brain, called the central complex, is crucially involved in the... (More)

Despite their tiny brains, insects show impressive abilities when navigating over short distances during path integration or during migration over thousands of kilometers across entire continents. Celestial compass cues often play an important role as references during navigation. In contrast to many other insects, South African dung beetles rely exclusively on celestial cues for visual reference during orientation. After finding a dung pile, these animals cut off a piece of dung from the pat, shape it into a ball and roll it away along a straight path until a suitable place for underground consumption is found. To maintain a constant bearing, a brain region in the beetle's brain, called the central complex, is crucially involved in the processing of skylight cues, similar to what has already been shown for path-integrating and migrating insects. In this study, we characterized the neuroanatomy of the sky-compass network and the central complex in the dung beetle brain in detail. Using tracer injections, combined with imaging and 3D modeling, we describe the anatomy of the possible sky-compass network in the central brain. We used a quantitative approach to study the central-complex network and found that several types of neuron exhibit a highly organized connectivity pattern. The architecture of the sky-compass network and central complex is similar to that described in insects that perform path integration or are migratory. This suggests that, despite their different orientation behaviors, this neural circuitry for compass orientation is highly conserved among the insects.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
anatomy, insect, navigation, orientation, polarized light, RRID: AB_2315426, Scarabaeus, vision
in
Journal of Comparative Neurology
volume
526
issue
16
pages
2612 - 2630
publisher
John Wiley & Sons
external identifiers
  • scopus:85055258070
ISSN
0021-9967
DOI
10.1002/cne.24520
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
83e77910-ff04-4846-a862-cafe0b2f10f5
date added to LUP
2018-11-22 09:54:32
date last changed
2019-03-17 05:10:46
@article{83e77910-ff04-4846-a862-cafe0b2f10f5,
  abstract     = {<p>Despite their tiny brains, insects show impressive abilities when navigating over short distances during path integration or during migration over thousands of kilometers across entire continents. Celestial compass cues often play an important role as references during navigation. In contrast to many other insects, South African dung beetles rely exclusively on celestial cues for visual reference during orientation. After finding a dung pile, these animals cut off a piece of dung from the pat, shape it into a ball and roll it away along a straight path until a suitable place for underground consumption is found. To maintain a constant bearing, a brain region in the beetle's brain, called the central complex, is crucially involved in the processing of skylight cues, similar to what has already been shown for path-integrating and migrating insects. In this study, we characterized the neuroanatomy of the sky-compass network and the central complex in the dung beetle brain in detail. Using tracer injections, combined with imaging and 3D modeling, we describe the anatomy of the possible sky-compass network in the central brain. We used a quantitative approach to study the central-complex network and found that several types of neuron exhibit a highly organized connectivity pattern. The architecture of the sky-compass network and central complex is similar to that described in insects that perform path integration or are migratory. This suggests that, despite their different orientation behaviors, this neural circuitry for compass orientation is highly conserved among the insects.</p>},
  author       = {el Jundi, Basil and Warrant, Eric J. and Pfeiffer, Keram and Dacke, Marie},
  issn         = {0021-9967},
  keyword      = {anatomy,insect,navigation,orientation,polarized light,RRID: AB_2315426,Scarabaeus,vision},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {16},
  pages        = {2612--2630},
  publisher    = {John Wiley & Sons},
  series       = {Journal of Comparative Neurology},
  title        = {Neuroarchitecture of the dung beetle central complex},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cne.24520},
  volume       = {526},
  year         = {2018},
}