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Author Foster, J.J.; Kirwan, J.D.; El Jundi, B.; Smolka, J.; Khaldy, L.; Baird, E.; Byrne, M.J.; Nilsson, D.-E.; Johnsen, S.; Dacke, M.
Title Orienting to polarized light at night – matching lunar skylight to performance in a nocturnal beetle Type Journal Article
Year 2019 Publication The Journal of Experimental Biology Abbreviated Journal J Exp Biol
Volume 222 Issue Pt 2 Pages jeb188532
Keywords Animals; Natural skylight; insects; South African dung beetle; Escarabaeus satyrus; polarized light; Orientation
Abstract For polarized light to inform behaviour, the typical range of degrees of polarization observable in the animal's natural environment must be above the threshold for detection and interpretation. Here, we present the first investigation of the degree of linear polarization threshold for orientation behaviour in a nocturnal species, with specific reference to the range of degrees of polarization measured in the night sky. An effect of lunar phase on the degree of polarization of skylight was found, with smaller illuminated fractions of the moon's surface corresponding to lower degrees of polarization in the night sky. We found that the South African dung beetle Escarabaeus satyrus can orient to polarized light for a range of degrees of polarization similar to that observed in diurnal insects, reaching a lower threshold between 0.04 and 0.32, possibly as low as 0.11. For degrees of polarization lower than 0.23, as measured on a crescent moon night, orientation performance was considerably weaker than that observed for completely linearly polarized stimuli, but was nonetheless stronger than in the absence of polarized light.
Address Lund Vision Group, Department of Biology, Lund University, Solvegatan 35, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
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 0022-0949 ISBN Medium
Area Expedition Conference
Notes PMID:30530838 Approved no
Call Number GFZ @ kyba @ Serial 2599
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