<figcaption> Credit: © DARRYL SLEATH</figcaption>

Birds, fish, and arthropods are among the animals that can distinguish linearly polarized light. For insects, perceiving the diurnally changing orientation of polarized light - called E-vector analysis - is a way to assist navigation. Stanley Heinze and Uwe Homberg, animal biologists at Philipps University in Germany, looked at locusts and uncovered the neural structure responsible for E-vector analysis - the protocerebral bridge located in the center of their brains.

Martin Giurfa, a neuroscientist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Toulouse, France writes of the discovery in Faculty of 1000:

"Previous works have reported the existence of isolated neurons responding to E-vector orientation in the brain of locusts and crickets. Now, these authors report that the central complex, a brain area consisting of two subunits, the protocerebral bridge and the central body, presents a topographic representation of E-vector orientations. The protocerebral bridge of locusts...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?