Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way for Orientation

Overview of attention for article published in Current Biology, January 2013
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#31 of 6,503)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Readers on

mendeley
246 Mendeley
citeulike
7 CiteULike
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Title
Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way for Orientation
Published in
Current Biology, January 2013
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2012.12.034
Pubmed ID
Authors

Eric J. Warrant, Marie Dacke, Emily Baird, Marcus Byrne, Clarke H. Scholtz, Dacke M, Baird E, Byrne M, Scholtz CH, Warrant EJ

Abstract

When the moon is absent from the night sky, stars remain as celestial visual cues. 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 polarization pattern to move along straight paths, away from the intense competition at the dung pile. Even on clear moonless nights, many beetles still manage to orientate along straight paths. This led us to hypothesize that dung beetles exploit the starry sky for orientation, a feat that has, to our knowledge, never been demonstrated in an insect. Here, we show that dung beetles transport their dung balls along straight paths under a starlit sky but lose this ability under overcast conditions. In a planetarium, the beetles orientate equally well when rolling under a full starlit sky as when only the Milky Way is present. The use of this bidirectional celestial cue for orientation has been proposed for vertebrates, spiders, and insects, but never proven. This finding represents the first convincing demonstration for the use of the starry sky for orientation in insects and provides the first documented use of the Milky Way for orientation in the animal kingdom.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 271 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 246 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 9 4%
Germany 7 3%
United Kingdom 4 2%
Brazil 3 1%
France 2 <1%
Mexico 2 <1%
Portugal 2 <1%
Australia 1 <1%
Finland 1 <1%
Other 7 3%
Unknown 208 85%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 72 29%
Researcher 53 22%
Student > Bachelor 29 12%
Student > Master 29 12%
Student > Postgraduate 13 5%
Other 50 20%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 180 73%
Environmental Science 20 8%
Physics and Astronomy 7 3%
Engineering 6 2%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 5 2%
Other 28 11%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 779. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 17 March 2017.
All research outputs
#2,414
of 7,430,338 outputs
Outputs from Current Biology
#31
of 6,503 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#53
of 296,064 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Current Biology
#1
of 261 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 7,430,338 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 6,503 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 32.2. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 296,064 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 261 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.