Dung beetles steer by the Milky Way | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News

Dung beetles steer by the Milky Way

Planetarium experiments show that the insects need only starlight to orient themselves

By
5:04pm, January 24, 2013

Even a collector of animal waste can keep its eyes on the stars. By tracking the dung beetles skittering across a darkened planetarium, researchers have shown that like seals, birds and people, the feces-eating insects are capable of taking directional cues from the sky.

“This is the first time we have shown that insects can use stars to guide them for orientation,” says neuroethologist Marie Dacke of Lund University in Sweden, “and it’s also the very first proof that animals can use the Milky Way for their orientation.” She and her colleagues report the results January 23 in Current Biology.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content