Dung Beetles Take Pictures of the Sky

Dung Beetles Take Pictures of the Sky
June 13, 2016 Cure All Pest Control


There are certain skills that we as humans take for granted. One of those skills is navigation. Even with this ability we have extra tools which aid us in our adventures- we have cars, maps and GPS. But have you ever stopped to think how insects find their way?

While the majority of insects use the light of the Milky Way and some other cues to navigate, dung beetles incorporate one skill that no other insects use.

A study has found that as the beetles are rolling dung they can take a snapshot or photograph of the positions of the celestial bodies. After this, they roll off and can move in a straight line.

The researchers say that this dance on top of the dung is somewhat like a trigger on a camera. Once it is pushed, a visual representation of the scenery is stored in the brain.

But what do they actually take a picture of?
The dung beetles can document a range of information including the placement of the sun and the moon or even the alignment of the stars.

Dung beetles also differ by not being able to use terrestrial cues. Researcher Basil el Jundi told Live Science that even when the sky was not visible, dung beetles didn’t change their navigation technique, “according to our current knowledge the sky is the only source of visual reference, and the ‘celestial snapshot’ strategy is the only technique they seem to use.”

Take a look at this close-up shot of a dung beetle “dancing” and see if you can spot when it would be taking a “photograph” of the sky.