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How Dung Beetles Steer Straight

Dacke, Marie LU ; Baird, Emily LU ; El Jundi, Basil LU ; Warrant, Eric J. LU and Byrne, Marcus (2021) In Annual Review of Entomology 66. p.243-256
Abstract

Distant and predictable features in the environment make ideal compass cues to allow movement along a straight path. Ball-rolling dung beetles use a wide range of different signals in the day or night sky to steer themselves along a fixed bearing. These include the sun, the Milky Way, and the polarization pattern generated by the moon. Almost two decades of research into these remarkable creatures have shown that the dung beetle's compass is flexible and readily adapts to the cues available in its current surroundings. In the morning and afternoon, dung beetles use the sun to orient, but at midday, they prefer to use the wind, and at night or in a forest, they rely primarily on polarized skylight to maintain straight paths. We are just... (More)

Distant and predictable features in the environment make ideal compass cues to allow movement along a straight path. Ball-rolling dung beetles use a wide range of different signals in the day or night sky to steer themselves along a fixed bearing. These include the sun, the Milky Way, and the polarization pattern generated by the moon. Almost two decades of research into these remarkable creatures have shown that the dung beetle's compass is flexible and readily adapts to the cues available in its current surroundings. In the morning and afternoon, dung beetles use the sun to orient, but at midday, they prefer to use the wind, and at night or in a forest, they rely primarily on polarized skylight to maintain straight paths. We are just starting to understand the neuronal substrate underlying the dung beetle's compass and the mystery of why these beetles start each journey with a dance.

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author
; ; ; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
celestial, central complex, compass, dung beetle, navigation, orientation
in
Annual Review of Entomology
volume
66
pages
14 pages
publisher
Annual Reviews
external identifiers
  • scopus:85099234272
  • pmid:32822556
ISSN
0066-4170
DOI
10.1146/annurev-ento-042020-102149
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
99e3e615-4340-4b57-836c-dc749c8c47d4
date added to LUP
2021-01-25 09:34:20
date last changed
2021-05-25 02:07:33
@article{99e3e615-4340-4b57-836c-dc749c8c47d4,
  abstract     = {<p>Distant and predictable features in the environment make ideal compass cues to allow movement along a straight path. Ball-rolling dung beetles use a wide range of different signals in the day or night sky to steer themselves along a fixed bearing. These include the sun, the Milky Way, and the polarization pattern generated by the moon. Almost two decades of research into these remarkable creatures have shown that the dung beetle's compass is flexible and readily adapts to the cues available in its current surroundings. In the morning and afternoon, dung beetles use the sun to orient, but at midday, they prefer to use the wind, and at night or in a forest, they rely primarily on polarized skylight to maintain straight paths. We are just starting to understand the neuronal substrate underlying the dung beetle's compass and the mystery of why these beetles start each journey with a dance. </p>},
  author       = {Dacke, Marie and Baird, Emily and El Jundi, Basil and Warrant, Eric J. and Byrne, Marcus},
  issn         = {0066-4170},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {243--256},
  publisher    = {Annual Reviews},
  series       = {Annual Review of Entomology},
  title        = {How Dung Beetles Steer Straight},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ento-042020-102149},
  doi          = {10.1146/annurev-ento-042020-102149},
  volume       = {66},
  year         = {2021},
}