The dung beetle dance, performed as the beetle moves away from the dung pile with his precious dung ball, is a mechanism to maintain the desired straight-line departure from the pile, according to a study published in the Jan. 18 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.
The purpose of this dance, in which the beetle climbs to the top of the ball and rotates, had previously been unknown, so the authors of the PLoS ONE study, led by Emily Baird of Lund University in Sweden, investigated the circumstances that cause the beetle to dance. They found that the beetles are most likely to perform the dance before moving away from the pile, upon encountering an obstacle, or if they have lost control of the ball, suggesting that the behavior is crucial for keeping the ball moving in a straight line. Such direct, efficient navigation allows the beetle to quickly move away from the intense competition from other beetles at the dung pile. The authors propose that the beetles store a compass reading of celestial cues during the dance, which they then use to guide their straight-line trajectory.
Lund University: http://www.lu.se
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
All plants contain toxins which continue to work after leaf fall, so how worms are able to stomach dead grass and leaf litter has long been a mystery
One of the oldest-known complex organisms had a surprising complicated sex life, scientists report.
A study finds that wild bonobos use a single high-pitched call in a variety of contexts, showing a linguistic flexibility that was thought to be uniquely human.
Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Cape Cod have begun using a helicopter-style drone to monitor humpback whales off the coast, collecting breath samples from their blowholes and taking aerial pictures.
His moves are intended to woo females, but they seem to work on humans, too
A new Bic commercial claims four benefits to writing by hand.
Foraging bumblebees can pick up nearly half their weight in pollen before heading home to the hive, research shows. All that weight tucked into hollows on their hind legs can complicate flying.
Scientists are working on ways to train our brains away from deeply held prejudices — including hacking your subconscious while you sleep.
A species of clownfish has been shown to grow bigger in warmer conditions, suggesting that some animals may benefit from global warming
The first ever trial of reprogrammed stem cells is put on hold while scientists investigate whether the procedure caused a potentially cancerous mutation