Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dung beetle: Soft shit shuffle

The University of the Witwatersrand were recently awarded an Ignobel Prize to fund research into dung beetles and how they cope with the savannah heat. With temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) the Dung beetles typically climb on top of moist balls of poo to stay cool. After scientists outfitted dung beetles with silicone boots they discovered the insects adapted well to their new foot gear and relied less on the ball of poo to get around. Reference

"Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way for Orientation," Marie Dacke, Emily Baird, Marcus Byrne, Clarke H. Scholtz, Eric J. Warrant, Current Biology, epub January 24, 2013. The authors, at Lund University, Sweden, the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and the University of Pretoria.

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