Publication details

American cockroaches prefer four cardinal geomagnetic positions at rest.



Year of publication 2010
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Behaviour
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Physiology
Keywords Alignment cockroach insects magnetoreception positions quadrimodal resting
Description A specific behavior based on the ability to perceive the magnetic field has been described in several species: when resting or grazing animals take up a position placing their main body axis parallel with the North-South or East-West geomagnetic axes, which is referred to as magnetic alignment. The adaptive significance of this behavior remains an enigma. No experiments have been made to date to demonstrate conclusively whether that orientation will adequately change in response to an experimental rotation of geomagnetic axes which is a key step to prove the use of exclusively magnetic cues for orientation. In our study, we identified a preference regarding the four cardinal magnetic axes, i.e. a quadrimodal alignment both in natural and in 60deg rotated fields. The study gives the original evidence that quadrimodal alignment is a type of animal behavior specifically related to the cardinal magnetic axes of the Earth.
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