, Volume 95, Issue 4, pp 343–346 | Cite as

Canopy compass in nocturnal homing of the subsocial shield bug, Parastrachia japonensis (Heteroptera: Parastrachiidae)

  • Mantaro HironakaEmail author
  • Koichi Inadomi
  • Shintaro Nomakuchi
  • Lisa Filippi
  • Takahiko Hariyama
Short Communication


In contrast to an open environment where a specific celestial cue is predominantly used, visual contrast of canopies against the sky through the gap, known as canopy cues, is known to play a major role for visually guided insect navigators in woodland habitats. In this paper, we investigated whether a subsocial shield bug, Parastrachia japonensis, could gauge direction using canopy cues on a moonless night. The results show that they could perform the round trip foraging behaviour even in an experimental arena with only an artificial round gap opened in the ceiling of the arena and adjust their homing direction for a new azimuth when the gap was rotated. Thus, P. japonensis can use slightly brighter canopy cues as a compass reference but not complex landmarks during nocturnal homing behaviour.


Canopy orientation Navigation Nocturnal foraging Subsocial shield bug Parastrachia japonensis 



We thank Prof. (emeritus) S. Tojo and Dr. K. Matsubara (Saga University) for their many useful comments. This research was partially supported by a Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows, no. 16003679, 2004, and the Sasagawa Scientific Research Grant from The Japan Science Society. All experiments complied with the Guideline for Animal Experiments of Hamamatsu University School of Medicine.


  1. Baader AP (1996) The significance of visual landmarks for navigation of the giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata (Formicidae Ponerinae). Insect Soc 43:435–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Batschelet E (1981) Circular statistics in biology. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Duelli P, Wehner R (1973) The spectral sensitivity of polarized light orientation in Cataglyphis bicolor (Formicidae, Hymenoptera). J Comp Physiol A 86:37–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ehmer B (1999) Orientation in the ant Paraponera clavata. J Insect Behav 12:711–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Filippi L, Hironaka M, Nomakuchi S (2001) A review of the ecological parameters and implications of subsociality in Parastrachia japonensis (Hemiptera: Cydnidae), a semelparous species that specializes on a poor resource. Popul Ecol 43:41–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Filippi-Tsukamoto L, Nomakuchi S, Kuki K, Tojo S (1995) Adaptiveness of parental care in Parastrachia japonensis (Hemiptera: Cydnidae). Ann Entomol Soc Am 88:374–383Google Scholar
  7. Hironaka M, Nomakuchi S, Filippi L, Tojo S, Horiguchi H, Hariyama T (2003) The directional homing behaviour of the subsocial shield bug, Parastrachia japonensis (Heteroptera: Cydnidae), under different photic conditions. Zool Sci 20:423–428PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hironaka M, Filippi L, Nomakuchi S, Horiguchi H, Hariyama T (2007a) Hierarchical use of chemical marking and path integration in the homing trip of a subsocial shield bug. Anim Behav 73:739–745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hironaka M, Tojo S, Nomakuchi S, Filippi L, Hariyama T (2007b) Round-the-clock homing behavior of a subsocial shield bug, Parastrachia japonensis (Heteroptera: Parastrachiidae) using, path integration. Zool Sci 24:535–541PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hölldobler B (1980) Canopy orientation: a new kind of orientation in ants. Science 210:86–88PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lindauer M (1957) Sonnenorientierung der Bienen unter der Äquatorsonne und zur Nachtzeit. Naturwissenschaften 44:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Oliveira PS, Hölldobler B (1989) Orientation and communication in the neotropical ant Odontomachus bauri Emery (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ponerinae). Ethology 83:154–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Tsukamoto L, Tojo S (1992) A report of progressive provisioning in a stink bug, Parastrachia japonensis (Hemiptera: Cydnidae). J Ethol 10:21–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Wehner R (1984) Astronavigation in insects. Annu Rev Entomol 29:277–298Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mantaro Hironaka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Koichi Inadomi
    • 2
  • Shintaro Nomakuchi
    • 2
  • Lisa Filippi
    • 3
  • Takahiko Hariyama
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of MedicineHamamatsu University School of MedicineHamamatsuJapan
  2. 2.Department of Applied Biological Sciences, Faculty of AgricultureSaga UniversitySagaJapan
  3. 3.Department of BiologyHofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA

Personalised recommendations