Dung beetles use Milky Way to roll muck

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Scientists in Sweden have found that dung beetles use the Milky Way to orientate themselves as they roll their balls of muck along the ground.

Moving in a straight line ensures they do not circle back to the dungheap, where other beetles might snatch their prized lump.

The scientists found during field experiments in South Africa that on cloudy nights the beetles wandered aimlessly – but when put in a planetarium showing the Milky Way, they regained their bearings.

“When the Moon is absent from the night sky, stars remain as celestial visual cues,” the study’s authors said in the report, which was published in Current Biology.

“Nonetheless, only birds, seals and humans are known to use stars for orientation.

“African ball-rolling dung beetles exploit the Sun, the Moon, and the celestial polarisation pattern to move along straight paths, away from the intense competition at the dung pile.”

Written By: ABC News
continue to source article at abc.net.au

9 COMMENTS

  1. Always look on the bright side… it’s an inspirational metaphor, isn’t it?

    :-)

    In reply to #3 by crookedshoes:

    Their gaze is aimed at such lofty entities to accomplish rolling shit into a ball. Rolling shit into a ball.

  2. So true, so true!!! Rolling shit into a ball….

    In reply to #4 by angelvampjk:

    In reply to #3 by crookedshoes:

    Their gaze is aimed at such lofty entities to accomplish rolling shit into a ball. Rolling shit into a ball.

    I am not sure our goals are all that much grander …

  3. Politicians and religious leaders have been rolling shit into balls and pushing it on the unsuspecting since human evolution began. They still do not know the science behind it but, it has left our planet in a worse confused state than any dung heap imaginable. Consequently, you may notice that politicians and religious leaders know shit-all about astronomy.

  4. Light pollution – another article brings up the point that Dung Beetles could be affected, (as well as other critters), by this problem. Will they adapt, succumb, ….?

    Sometimes it’s easy to forget how delicate the ecosystem is.

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