Exploring the Fascinating World of Arthropod Navigation

A Special Issue in the Journal of Comparative Physiology A showcases the diverse research on arthropod navigation, highlighting the use of various sensory and complex neural computations.
Published in Ecology & Evolution

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The navigational abilities of arthropods, such as honeybees and insects, have long fascinated scientists. These creatures display remarkable spatial orientation skills, allowing them to navigate their environments efficiently and even perform long-range migrations. Despite having much smaller brains than vertebrates, arthropods exhibit impressive navigational performances. Researchers have been studying the neural mechanisms underlying arthropod navigation, seeking to uncover the minimum network requirements for such abilities and their potential applications in robotics.

The Journal of Comparative Physiology A sought to take account of these developments by presenting a collection of review and original research articles highlighting hotspots of research into various aspects of spatial orientation in insects and arachnids.

Guest edited by the experts Uwe Homberg (Philipps University Marburg, Germany) and Keram Pfeiffer (University of Würzburg, Germany), the articles cover topics like:

  • Navigation by olfactory cues
  • Vision and view-based navigation
  • The role of optic flow information
  • Learning navigational cues
  • The central complex network
  • Homing and path integration in arachnids


Articles are available to read in the Special Issue Unraveling the Neural Basis of Spatial Orientation in Arthropods published in July at the Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 

 Learn more:

Interested in having a visual representation of bee navigation and their life overall? In 2021, while taking refuge from the coronavirus pandemic, wildlife filmmaker Martin Dohrn set out to record all the bees he could find in his garden. His hard work was rewarded with an excellent documentary called My Garden of a Thousand Bees.

 See the trailer here:

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