Dung beetles move watching stars

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Dung beetles move watching stars,South African species,Dung Beetle

Believe it or not there is a species in South Africa who use the “Milky Way”to navigate.

These South African species called ‘Dung Beetle’ are the only known animal that look towards the stars across the night sky for direction,say researchers at Johannesburg’s Wits University took beetles into the university planetarium.

Earlier the researchers had known that the inch-long insects use the sun and the moon as fixed points to get rolling on dung balls.But now they “were puzzled over how the beetles, which perform an orientation dance on top of their dung balls before setting off, achieve a straight line on moonless nights”,said a Reuter story reporting by Ed Cropley and edited by Paul Casciato.

“To prove the Milky Way theory, scientists at Johannesburg’s Wits University took beetles into the university planetarium to see how they fared with a normal night sky, and then one devoid of the Milky Way.The dung beetles don’t care which direction they’re going in. They just need to get away from the bun fight at the poo pile,”said the same story quoting Wits professor Marcus Byrne. “But when we turned off the Milky Way, the beetles got lost.”

In reply to a question on what happened to these beetles on cloudy nights without a moon or stars,Reuter story quotes Byrne saying:”They probably just stay at home.”

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