Further adventures in dung-beetle-navigation research

Rachel Feltman chronicles, in the Washington Post, some further adventures of the Ig Nobel Prize-winning dung beetle navigation researchers:

The humble dung beetle has a fantastic way of navigating the world


If you’re a dung beetle, you spend a good portion of your life dancing around on top of a ball made of poop – a ball of poop that, with any luck, will eventually become dinner. But the researchers who’ve devoted their lives to studying these coprophagic critters say the insects have a surprising adaptation: According to a study published Thursday in Current Biology, dung beetles can take “snapshots” of their surroundings and use them to navigate.

First, a dung beetle factoid you might not know: Scientists believe that they navigate at night using the visible portion of the Milky Way – that gorgeous strip of stars and dust that appears in a sky sans light pollution. Unsurprisingly, the finding that dung beetles stare at the stars was honored with an Ig Nobel Award