Home > Papers from 2012 > Landmarks for dung beetles

Landmarks for dung beetles

For dung beetles, an important spatial task is to get their dung ball in a straight line away from the main pile. The role of celestial cues are clear in the beetle maintaining their straight line, this paper deals with whether terrestrial landmarks also make a contribution. One strong cue might come from the dung pile itself. As beetles push their ball with the back legs, they might keep the image of the pile on the frontal visual field in order to maintain a course away from it. Dacke et al show that manipulating the position of the main pile does not alter the beetle’s course. They also show that courses are not altered by shifting the beetle from a landmark rich arena to a plain arena, or vice versa. The authors suggest that this is the only visual navigator that ignores the information available from terrestrial landmarks – so much so that on overcast days they struggle to roll in a straight line, with or without landmarks.

Dacke, Marie, et al. “Dung beetles ignore landmarks for straight-line orientation.” Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology (2012): 1-7.

Categories: Papers from 2012
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