, Volume 192, Issue 1, pp 45-49
Date: 25 Aug 2005

Equatorial sandhoppers use body scans to detect the earth’s magnetic field

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Adults of Talorchestia martensii were individually released in a confined environment, with and without the natural magnetic field, under the sun and in a dark room. The sandhoppers scanned the horizontal component of the magnetic field by left and right oscillations of the entire major body axis. The frequency of this behaviour increased in a zeroed magnetic field, as did the frequencies of other behavioural indicators that reflect the difficulty in identifying the ecologically efficient orientation direction (sea–land axis). Therefore, like head scans in birds, body scans seem to be used by equatorial sandhoppers to detect the magnetic symmetry plane.