HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
How butterflies fly thousands of miles without getting lost revealed by researchers

Jerusalem -- While "navigation" systems in automobiles are a fairly new (and still costly) innovation, monarch butterflies have managed for millennia to navigate their way for a distance of some 3000 miles (4800 kilometers) each fall from Canada to Mexico (and vice-versa in the spring) without losing their way.

The phenomenon of long-range bird migration is a well-known one, but not in the insect world. Also, among birds their migration route is a round-trip one, which they make more than once in their lifetimes, while for the monarch it is strictly a one-way trip for each butterfly. How do these creatures do it?

The mystery of the mechanisms involved in this remarkable phenomenon has been resolved by a team of scientists who did this by exploring the infinitesimal butterfly brain and eye tissues to uncover new insights into the biological machinery that directs this delicate creature on its lengthy flight path.

The research team, led by Prof. Steven Reppert of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, included Dr. Oren Froy, now of the Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Others involved were from the Czech Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Irvine. Their latest findings were published in a recent issue of Neuron magazine, constituting a continuation of their earlier work, published in the journal Science.

While light in general is essential to the functioning of the "biological clock" in the butterfly brain governing its metabolic cycles, including its "signal" to migrate -- the researchers discovered that it is specifically the ultraviolet band of light that is crucial to the creature's orientation. The butterflies have special photoreceptors for ultraviolet (UV) light in their eyes which provide them with their sense of direction.

They proved that this ultraviolet "navigation" is crucial by placing butterflies
'"/>

Contact: Jerry Barach
jerryb@savion.huji.ac.il
972-2-588-2904
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
1-Aug-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Climate change isolates Rocky Mountain butterflies
2. Researchers witness natural selection at work in dramatic comeback of male butterflies
3. Male-killing bacteria makes female butterflies more promiscuous
4. Nevada scientist part of team that discovers hybrid speciation in butterflies in Sierra
5. Have traits, will travel: Some butterflies travel farther, reproduce faster
6. How butterflies got their spots: A supergene controls wing pattern diversity
7. Where have all the butterflies gone?
8. Ultralight plane migrating with monarch butterflies to land in Washington
9. Expanding forests darken the outlook for butterflies, study shows
10. Female butterflies go for sparkle -- not size -- when choosing to mate
11. From butterflies to freshwater supplies

Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/10/2014)... detergent pods began appearing on U.S. store shelves in ... numbers ever since. The small packets can be tossed ... out a liquid or powder. The convenience, though, has ... study from researchers at Nationwide Children,s Hospital found that ... reports of 17,230 children younger than 6 years of ...
(Date:11/7/2014)... 2014 Leading Biometric companies aim to ... revolutionizing online transactions.  Companies in focus today are: NXT-ID, Inc. ... BABA ), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG ), ... EBAY ) and MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) ... a biometric authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce ...
(Date:11/6/2014)... for a predator. Except when that predator runs so fast ... to its size, is the fastest creature on Earth. Some ... second (at about five miles per hour). The fastest human ... gold from the tiger beetle, a person would have to ... has a problem. At peak speeds, everything becomes a blur. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Study finds laundry detergent pods, serious poisoning risk for children 2Universal Authentication Methods Provide More Secure Operations for Biometrics Devices - Company Joins FIDO Alliance for Consumer Protection 2Universal Authentication Methods Provide More Secure Operations for Biometrics Devices - Company Joins FIDO Alliance for Consumer Protection 3Universal Authentication Methods Provide More Secure Operations for Biometrics Devices - Company Joins FIDO Alliance for Consumer Protection 4Universal Authentication Methods Provide More Secure Operations for Biometrics Devices - Company Joins FIDO Alliance for Consumer Protection 5Universal Authentication Methods Provide More Secure Operations for Biometrics Devices - Company Joins FIDO Alliance for Consumer Protection 6The tiger beetle: Too fast to see 2
(Date:11/21/2014)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) November 20, 2014 ... extended their Sartorius Entris Balance promotion . The ... customers seeking a durable, high accuracy, and easy-to-maintain balance ... made in Germany. It was designed to help customer’s ... affordable and a balance that is very durable. Sartorius ...
(Date:11/21/2014)... BlueInGreen, LLC ( BlueInGreen® ) and ... PCI, Inc., leading suppliers of ozone process technology ... to provide a new state-of-the-art ozone system for ... Wastewater Treatment. The new ozone disinfection system ... dissolution technology, Pinnacle Ozone’s industry leading Zenith™ ozone ...
(Date:11/21/2014)... , Nov. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - Aequus ... to announce that it has closed a brokered ... warrants for approximately C$3.7 million.  Cormark Securities Inc. ... in the Brokered Offering for a syndicate of ... PI Financial Corp. (collectively the "Agents"). Concurrently with ...
(Date:11/18/2014)... 2014 Cirrascale Corporation ®, ... and rackmount computing infrastructure, today announced it will ... throughout its GPU-enabled blade server and high-performance workstation ... latest proprietary 80-lane Gen3 PCIe switch-enabled risers, the ... K80 dual-GPU accelerator cards in a single blade, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Pipette.com Announces an Extension on the Sartorius Entris Balance Promotion to the End of 2014 2City of Fayetteville Leads Nation with Innovative Ozone Technology 2City of Fayetteville Leads Nation with Innovative Ozone Technology 3City of Fayetteville Leads Nation with Innovative Ozone Technology 4Aequus Pharmaceuticals closes $4.2 million private placement financing 2Aequus Pharmaceuticals closes $4.2 million private placement financing 3Cirrascale® Expands Multi-GPU Peering Solutions with Support for New NVIDIA Tesla K80 Dual-GPU Accelerators 2Cirrascale® Expands Multi-GPU Peering Solutions with Support for New NVIDIA Tesla K80 Dual-GPU Accelerators 3
Cached News: