Geek Trivia

What Is The Only Insect Known To Navigate Using Stars?

Dung Beetles
Monarch Butterflies
The White "Sugar Sand" Beaches Found In Tropical Locales Are Composed Of?

Answer: Dung Beetles

Although scientists have long hypothesized that insects may use stars for navigation purposes (as do humans and birds), there was never concrete evidence that any insects were actually doing so. No evidence, that is, until researchers published findings in the Current Biology journal in early 2013 indicating that African Dung Beetles successfully used stars to navigate.

Not only do the dung beetles use other celestial clues like the position of the Sun and Moon, but on moonless nights they also use the orientation of the Milky Way to navigate in straight paths. The researchers observed this phenomenon both in the wild and replicated it by placing beetles in a planetarium and tracking their orientation against that of the projected Milky Way.