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Latest Steven Reppert Stories

Monarch Butterflies Rely In Part On Magnetic Compass For Navigation
2014-06-25 07:52:07

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Mass migrations have puzzled scientists for decades, and perhaps none more so than the North American monarch butterfly. Each fall, millions of the beautiful orange and black winged insects begin their journey from the eastern US and Canada. They travel over 2,000 miles to winter in specific groves of fir trees in the Michoacan Mountains in central Mexico, where they crowd together so densely that the air is filled with butterflies,...

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2011-06-22 06:05:00

Research published this week in the journal Nature Communications shows that a light-sensitive protein found in the human eye can act as a "compass" in the magnetic field when implanted into the eyes of Drosophila (flies). The study showed that without their natural "magneto reception" protein, flies do not respond to a magnetic field. But after replacing the protein with a human version of the protein, their ability was restored. For migratory birds and some other animals, the ability to...

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2011-01-27 09:12:37

A new study takes a close look at the brain of the migratory monarch butterfly to better understand how these remarkable insects use an internal compass and skylight cues to navigate from eastern North America to Mexico each fall. The research, published by Cell Press in the January 27 issue of the journal Neuron, provides key insights into how ambiguous sensory signals can be integrated in the brain to guide complex navigation. Previous research has shown that migrants use a time-compensated...

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2010-01-25 10:22:04

UMass Medical School neurobiologists use transgenic fruit flies and monarch butterfly transgenes to help define magnetoreception mechanism Building on prior investigation into the biological mechanisms through which monarch butterflies are able to migrate up to 2,000 miles from eastern North America to a particular forest in Mexico each year, neurobiologists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) have linked two related photoreceptor proteins found in butterflies to animal...

2009-09-25 13:32:10

Monarch butterflies locate their winter home in Mexico through a key mechanism in their antennae, scientists in Massachusetts said. Scientists have long known that butterfly antennae can detect odors, wind direction and vibration, said Dr. Steven Reppert, chair of neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. But its role in precise orientation over the course of butterfly migration is an intriguing new discovery, one that may spark a new line of investigation into neural...

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2008-01-09 19:30:00

Genetic information about the biological clock of monarch butterflies might reveal information about our circadian rhythms. A study was published online in the Public Library of Science and their Biology Journal which found that the biological clocks of butterflies help them use the sun as a compass. Dr. Steven Reppert, a neurobiologist from the University of Massachusetts led the study's seven-member research team. His reasoning? "A butterfly's brain is no bigger than the head of a pin, and...


Word of the Day
caparison
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.
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