Life as We Know It
Butterfly GPS, glowing mushrooms, bat-hunting songbirds and more
- By Amanda Bensen, Abby Callard, T.A. Frail, Abigail Tucker and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, December 2009
Migratory monarch butterfly. (iStockphoto)
Migratory monarch butterflies travel great distances by orienting themselves to the sun at any time of day.
Now University of Massachusetts scientists say the insect's antennae are the key to navigation; when the scientists removed or painted them to block sunlight, monarchs lost their way. The surprise? Antennae aren't just for detecting scents after all.
Learn more about monarch butterflies at the Encyclopedia of Life.
"Luminescent Mycena: new and noteworthy species," Dennis E. Desjardin et al., Mycologia, October 6, 2009.
"Great tits search for, capture, kill and eat hibernating bats," Péter Estók et al., Biology Letters, September 9, 2009.
"Reciprocal Face-to-Face Communication between Rhesus Macaque Mothers and Their Newborn Infants," Pier Francesco Ferrari et al., Current Biology, October 8, 2009.
"Antennal Circadian Clocks Coordinate Sun Compass Orientation in Migratory Monarch Butterflies," Christine Merlin et al., Science, September 25, 2009.
"Multiyear multiple paternity and mate fidelity in the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis," S. L. Lance et al., Molecular Ecology, October 5, 2009.