Home > Papers from 2011 > A new review of insect navigation

A new review of insect navigation

The latest issue of JEB contains a new review of insect navigation from Harald Wolf. The title of the paper is “Odometry and Insect Navigation”, however this is potentially misleading. The review itself has a broader scope and is therefore of broader interest. Harald puts the sensory basis of odometry at the centre of the review but, in order to put that topic in proper context, there is ample coverage of many other aspects of insect (and spider) navigation and sensory physiology. The most obvious topic not really covered in significant detail is the use of visual cues.

Wolf, H. 2011 Odometry and insect navigation. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 214, 1629-1641

 Abstract: “Animals have needed to find their way about almost since a free-living life style evolved. Particularly, if an animal has a home – shelter or nesting site – true navigation becomes necessary to shuttle between this home and areas of other activities, such as feeding. As old as navigation is in the animal kingdom, as diverse are its mechanisms and implementations, depending on an organism’s ecology and its endowment with sensors and actuators. The use of landmarks for piloting or the use of trail pheromones for route following have been examined in great detail and in a variety of animal species. The same is true for senses of direction – the compasses for navigation – and the construction of vectors for navigation from compass and distance cues. The measurement of distance itself – odometry – has received much less attention. The present review addresses some recent progress in the understanding of odometers in invertebrates, after outlining general principles of navigation to put odometry in its proper context. Finally, a number of refinements that increase navigation accuracy and safety are addressed.”

Categories: Papers from 2011
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