Czech sciencist takes part in butterfly navigation discovery

Danaus_plexipus Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexipus) travel from Canada to Mexico and back. The flight is 8000 kilomentres long. The difference between birds is, birds live longer and so they can gather experience, but from the butterflies that are born in Mexico, third or even fith generation would arrive to Canada. So what do they use for navigation? A ‘solar compass’.

The complicated mechanism was uncovered by the team of Professor Steven Reppert from the University of Massachusetts, USA. Sauman, who works in the Entomological Institute of the Academy of Sciences in Ceske Budejovice, took part in the research.

The solar compass maps the Sun’s position, which is connected to butterflies’ inner ‘navigation clock’ by which the butterflies find their way. Sauman says the monarch butterfly is the first organism where this unique navigation was uncovered.

Related Articles