FEATURED IMAGE: 17 Oct 2019, 18:04 UTC | The Clumpy and Lumpy Death of a Star 20 October 2019, 9:55:20UTC RSS RSS | About | Contact | Site Map
Home » News & Blogs » All I ask is a dung ball and a star to steer her by
Bookmark and Share
Professor Astronomy

All I ask is a dung ball and a star to steer her by

25 Jan 2013, 22:40 UTC
All I ask is a dung ball and a star to steer her by
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Image Credit: Dacke et al. / Current Biology via NBC News

Humans are not the only animals to navigate using the sky. Numerous birds and other animals use the sun and moon as navigational cues, and birds and seals also use stars. Evidentially so do dung beetles, which also use the Milky Way, according to a new study in Current Biology by Swedish scientist Marie Dacke and collaborators. (Insert your own dung-related joke here.)

Dung beetles are important insects who help to break apart the large mounds of dung produced by large animals. They go to a pile, make a ball, and then head for home as fast as possible to try and keep other dung beetles from stealing their hard-earned treasure. The best way to do that, of course, is to make a bee-line for home.

Being a small insect in a big world, dung beetles use visual clues to help go home. Previous researchers found that dung beetles use the sun, moon, and polarization of the light in the sky to orient themselves and move in a straight line. But the beetles still work if the sun and moon aren't in the sky.

Dacke and her collaborators tried ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod