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Author (up) El Jundi, B.; Warrant, E.J.; Byrne, M.J.; Khaldy, L.; Baird, E.; Smolka, J.; Dacke, M. url  doi
  Title Neural coding underlying the cue preference for celestial orientation Type Journal Article
  Year 2015 Publication Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Abbreviated Journal Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A  
  Volume 112 Issue 36 Pages 11395-11400  
  Keywords animals; vision  
  Abstract Diurnal and nocturnal African dung beetles use celestial cues, such as the sun, the moon, and the polarization pattern, to roll dung balls along straight paths across the savanna. Although nocturnal beetles move in the same manner through the same environment as their diurnal relatives, they do so when light conditions are at least 1 million-fold dimmer. Here, we show, for the first time to our knowledge, that the celestial cue preference differs between nocturnal and diurnal beetles in a manner that reflects their contrasting visual ecologies. We also demonstrate how these cue preferences are reflected in the activity of compass neurons in the brain. At night, polarized skylight is the dominant orientation cue for nocturnal beetles. However, if we coerce them to roll during the day, they instead use a celestial body (the sun) as their primary orientation cue. Diurnal beetles, however, persist in using a celestial body for their compass, day or night. Compass neurons in the central complex of diurnal beetles are tuned only to the sun, whereas the same neurons in the nocturnal species switch exclusively to polarized light at lunar light intensities. Thus, these neurons encode the preferences for particular celestial cues and alter their weighting according to ambient light conditions. This flexible encoding of celestial cue preferences relative to the prevailing visual scenery provides a simple, yet effective, mechanism for enabling visual orientation at any light intensity.  
  Address Department of Biology, Lund University, 223 62 Lund, Sweden; School of Animal, Plant, and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits 2050, South Africa  
  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 0027-8424 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes PMID:26305929 Approved no  
  Call Number LoNNe @ kyba @ Serial 1263  
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