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Unraveling the neural basis of insect navigation

Heinze, Stanley LU (2017) In Current Opinion in Insect Science 24. p.58-67
Abstract

One of the defining features of animals is their ability to navigate their environment. Using behavioral experiments this topic has been under intense investigation for nearly a century. In insects, this work has largely focused on the remarkable homing abilities of ants and bees. More recently, the neural basis of navigation shifted into the focus of attention. Starting with revealing the neurons that process the sensory signals used for navigation, in particular polarized skylight, migratory locusts became the key species for delineating navigation-relevant regions of the insect brain. Over the last years, this work was used as a basis for research in the fruit fly Drosophila and extraordinary progress has been made in illuminating... (More)

One of the defining features of animals is their ability to navigate their environment. Using behavioral experiments this topic has been under intense investigation for nearly a century. In insects, this work has largely focused on the remarkable homing abilities of ants and bees. More recently, the neural basis of navigation shifted into the focus of attention. Starting with revealing the neurons that process the sensory signals used for navigation, in particular polarized skylight, migratory locusts became the key species for delineating navigation-relevant regions of the insect brain. Over the last years, this work was used as a basis for research in the fruit fly Drosophila and extraordinary progress has been made in illuminating the neural underpinnings of navigational processes. With increasingly detailed understanding of navigation circuits, we can begin to ask whether there is a fundamentally shared concept underlying all navigation behavior across insects. This review highlights recent advances and puts them into the context of the behavioral work on ants and bees, as well as the circuits involved in polarized-light processing. A region of the insect brain called the central complex emerges as the common substrate for guiding navigation and its highly organized neuroarchitecture provides a framework for future investigations potentially suited to explain all insect navigation behavior at the level of identified neurons.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Current Opinion in Insect Science
volume
24
pages
10 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85030184004
  • wos:000417020600011
ISSN
2214-5745
DOI
10.1016/j.cois.2017.09.001
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
919bc4a1-019f-4f2e-a06f-94fd3687e110
date added to LUP
2017-11-22 07:49:15
date last changed
2018-11-04 04:33:35
@article{919bc4a1-019f-4f2e-a06f-94fd3687e110,
  abstract     = {<p>One of the defining features of animals is their ability to navigate their environment. Using behavioral experiments this topic has been under intense investigation for nearly a century. In insects, this work has largely focused on the remarkable homing abilities of ants and bees. More recently, the neural basis of navigation shifted into the focus of attention. Starting with revealing the neurons that process the sensory signals used for navigation, in particular polarized skylight, migratory locusts became the key species for delineating navigation-relevant regions of the insect brain. Over the last years, this work was used as a basis for research in the fruit fly Drosophila and extraordinary progress has been made in illuminating the neural underpinnings of navigational processes. With increasingly detailed understanding of navigation circuits, we can begin to ask whether there is a fundamentally shared concept underlying all navigation behavior across insects. This review highlights recent advances and puts them into the context of the behavioral work on ants and bees, as well as the circuits involved in polarized-light processing. A region of the insect brain called the central complex emerges as the common substrate for guiding navigation and its highly organized neuroarchitecture provides a framework for future investigations potentially suited to explain all insect navigation behavior at the level of identified neurons.</p>},
  author       = {Heinze, Stanley},
  issn         = {2214-5745},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  pages        = {58--67},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Current Opinion in Insect Science},
  title        = {Unraveling the neural basis of insect navigation},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cois.2017.09.001},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2017},
}