Bats respond to polarity of a magnetic field

Wang, Yinan, Pan, Yongxin, Parsons, Stuart, Walker, Michael, & Zhang, Shuyi (2007) Bats respond to polarity of a magnetic field. Proceedings of the Royal Society B : Biological Sciences, 274, pp. 2901-2905.

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Bats have been shown to use information from the Earth's magnetic field during orientation. However, the mechanism underlying this ability remains unknown. In this study we investigated whether bats possess a polarity- or inclination-based compass that could be used in orientation. We monitored the hanging position of adult Nyctalus plancyi in the laboratory in the presence of an induced magnetic field of twice Earth-strength. When under the influence of a normally aligned induced field the bats showed a significant preference for hanging at the northern end of their roosting basket. When the vertical component of the field was reversed, the bats remained at the northern end of the basket. However, when the horizontal component of the field was reversed, the bats changed their positions and hung at the southern end of the basket. Based on these results, we conclude that N. plancyi, unlike all other non-mammalian vertebrates tested to date, uses a polarity-based compass during orientation in the roost, and that the same compass is also likely to underlie bats' long-distance navigation abilities.

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38 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 79766
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.0904
ISSN: 1471-2954
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 21 Jan 2015 04:40
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2015 23:46

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