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Nature. 2006 Dec 7;444(7120):702.

Navigation: bat orientation using Earth's magnetic field.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA. rahollan@princeton.edu

Abstract

Bats famously orientate at night by echolocation, but this works over only a short range, and little is known about how they navigate over longer distances. Here we show that the homing behaviour of Eptesicus fuscus, known as the big brown bat, can be altered by artificially shifting the Earth's magnetic field, indicating that these bats rely on a magnetic compass to return to their home roost. This finding adds to the impressive array of sensory abilities possessed by this animal for navigation in the dark.

PMID:
17151656
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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