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Unraveling navigational strategies in migratory insects.

  • Christine Merlin
  • Stanley Heinze
  • Steven M Reppert
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 353-361
Publication/Series: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Volume: 22
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article review
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Long-distance migration is a strategy some animals use to survive a seasonally changing environment. To reach favorable grounds, migratory animals have evolved sophisticated navigational mechanisms that rely on a map and compasses. In migratory insects, the existence of a map sense (sense of position) remains poorly understood, but recent work has provided new insights into the mechanisms some compasses use for maintaining a constant bearing during long-distance navigation. The best-studied directional strategy relies on a time-compensated sun compass, used by diurnal insects, for which neural circuits have begun to be delineated. Yet, a growing body of evidence suggests that migratory insects may also rely on other compasses that use night sky cues or the Earth's magnetic field. Those mechanisms are ripe for exploration.


  • Zoology


Stanley Heinze
E-mail: stanley [dot] heinze [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

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