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Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way for Orientation

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

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • 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)

Citations

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149 Dimensions

Readers on

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

Marie Dacke, Emily Baird, Marcus Byrne, Clarke H. Scholtz, Eric J. Warrant

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 386 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 472 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 8 2%
Germany 7 1%
United Kingdom 5 1%
Brazil 3 <1%
Portugal 2 <1%
Switzerland 1 <1%
Indonesia 1 <1%
France 1 <1%
Netherlands 1 <1%
Other 8 2%
Unknown 435 92%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 105 22%
Researcher 85 18%
Student > Bachelor 68 14%
Student > Master 60 13%
Student > Doctoral Student 22 5%
Other 79 17%
Unknown 53 11%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 243 51%
Environmental Science 34 7%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 22 5%
Neuroscience 18 4%
Engineering 13 3%
Other 74 16%
Unknown 68 14%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 986. 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 23 July 2022.
All research outputs
#12,097
of 21,740,538 outputs
Outputs from Current Biology
#110
of 13,320 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#55
of 279,742 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Current Biology
#1
of 137 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,740,538 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 13,320 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 53.9. 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 279,742 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 137 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.