Home > Papers from 2011 > Using ocelli to extract compass information

Using ocelli to extract compass information

As well as their compound eyes many insects have ocelli, which are simple light sensitive receptors mounted on the dorsal part of the head. The role of ocelli in flight control and stabilisation is well established but less is known about the role of ocelli for earth-bound insects.  In this paper Schwarz et al demonstrate that the ocelli of desert ants (Melophorus Bagoti) can contribute to the extraction of celestial compass information, along with the dorsal rim of the compound eye. In flying insects ocelli are implicated in horizon detection and given desert ant’s sensitivity to skyline profiles for navigation the authors also investigated whether the ocelli could play a role in detecting familiar landmarks, but they could not.

Sebastian Schwarz, Laurence Albert, Antoine Wystrach and Ken Cheng (2011) Ocelli contribute to the encoding of celestial compass information in the Australiandesert ant Melophorus bagoti. The Journal of Experimental Biology 214, 901-906

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Categories: Papers from 2011
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