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Author (up) Dacke, M.; Baird, E.; Byrne, M.; Scholtz, C.H.; Warrant, E.J. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Dung beetles use the Milky Way for orientation Type Journal Article
  Year 2013 Publication Current Biology : CB Abbreviated Journal Curr Biol  
  Volume 23 Issue 4 Pages 298-300  
  Keywords Animals; Beetles/*physiology; *Behavior, Animal; Cues; Feces; *Galaxies; Locomotion; Moon; Motor Activity; Orientation/*physiology; *Stars, Celestial; Vision, Ocular/physiology; Milky Way; insects  
  Abstract When the moon is absent from the night sky, stars remain as celestial visual cues. Nonetheless, only birds, seals, and humans are known to use stars for orientation. African ball-rolling dung beetles exploit the sun, the moon, and the celestial polarization pattern to move along straight paths, away from the intense competition at the dung pile. Even on clear moonless nights, many beetles still manage to orientate along straight paths. This led us to hypothesize that dung beetles exploit the starry sky for orientation, a feat that has, to our knowledge, never been demonstrated in an insect. Here, we show that dung beetles transport their dung balls along straight paths under a starlit sky but lose this ability under overcast conditions. In a planetarium, the beetles orientate equally well when rolling under a full starlit sky as when only the Milky Way is present. The use of this bidirectional celestial cue for orientation has been proposed for vertebrates, spiders, and insects, but never proven. This finding represents the first convincing demonstration for the use of the starry sky for orientation in insects and provides the first documented use of the Milky Way for orientation in the animal kingdom.  
  Address Department of Biology, Lund University, 223 62 Lund, Sweden. marie.dacke@biol.lu.se  
  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
  Language English Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 0960-9822 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes PMID:23352694 Approved no  
  Call Number IDA @ john @ Serial 116  
Permanent link to this record
 

 
Author (up) Dacke, M.; Byrne, M.J.; Baird, E.; Scholtz, C.H.; Warrant, E.J. url  doi
openurl 
  Title How dim is dim? Precision of the celestial compass in moonlight and sunlight Type Journal Article
  Year 2011 Publication Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences Abbreviated Journal Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci  
  Volume 366 Issue 1565 Pages 697-702  
  Keywords Animals; Beetles/*physiology; Behavior, Animal; *Moon; *Sunlight; Video Recording  
  Abstract Prominent in the sky, but not visible to humans, is a pattern of polarized skylight formed around both the Sun and the Moon. Dung beetles are, at present, the only animal group known to use the much dimmer polarization pattern formed around the Moon as a compass cue for maintaining travel direction. However, the Moon is not visible every night and the intensity of the celestial polarization pattern gradually declines as the Moon wanes. Therefore, for nocturnal orientation on all moonlit nights, the absolute sensitivity of the dung beetle's polarization detector may limit the precision of this behaviour. To test this, we studied the straight-line foraging behaviour of the nocturnal ball-rolling dung beetle Scarabaeus satyrus to establish when the Moon is too dim--and the polarization pattern too weak--to provide a reliable cue for orientation. Our results show that celestial orientation is as accurate during crescent Moon as it is during full Moon. Moreover, this orientation accuracy is equal to that measured for diurnal species that orient under the 100 million times brighter polarization pattern formed around the Sun. This indicates that, in nocturnal species, the sensitivity of the optical polarization compass can be greatly increased without any loss of precision.  
  Address Department of Biology, University of Lund, Helgonavagen 3, 223 62 Lund, Sweden. marie.dacke@cob.lu.se  
  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
  Language English Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 0962-8436 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes PMID:21282173; PMCID:PMC3049003 Approved no  
  Call Number IDA @ john @ Serial 34  
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Author (up) Dacke, M.; Nilsson, D.-E.; Scholtz, C.H.; Byrne, M.; Warrant, E.J. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Animal behaviour: insect orientation to polarized moonlight Type Journal Article
  Year 2003 Publication Nature Abbreviated Journal Nature  
  Volume 424 Issue 6944 Pages 33  
  Keywords Adaptation, Physiological/physiology; Animals; Beetles/*physiology; Feces; Feeding Behavior/physiology; *Light; Locomotion/*physiology; *Moon; Orientation/*physiology; Scarabaeus zambesianus  
  Abstract Moonlight, like sunlight, scatters when it strikes tiny particles in the atmosphere, giving rise to celestial polarization patterns. Here we show that an African dung beetle, Scarabaeus zambesianus, uses the polarization of a moonlit sky to orientate itself so that it can move along a straight line. Many creatures use the Sun's light-polarization pattern to orientate themselves, but S. zambesianus is the first animal known to use the million-times dimmer polarization of moonlight for this purpose.  
  Address Department of Cell and Organism Biology, University of Lund, 223 62 Lund, Sweden. marie.dacke@cob.lu.se  
  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
  Language English Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 0028-0836 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes PMID:12840748 Approved no  
  Call Number IDA @ john @ Serial 242  
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