Illuminating the circadian clock in monarch butterfly migration
Department of Neurobiology
*Animal Migration; Animals; Biological Clocks; Butterflies; Circadian Rhythm; Cloning, Molecular; Darkness; Flight, Animal; Light; Nuclear Proteins; Solar System; Ultraviolet Rays
Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Neuroscience and Neurobiology
Migratory monarch butterflies use a time-compensated Sun compass to navigate to their overwintering grounds in Mexico. Here, we report that constant light, which disrupts circadian clock function at both the behavioral and molecular levels in monarchs, also disrupts the time-compensated component of flight navigation. We further show that ultraviolet light is important for flight navigation but is not required for photic entrainment of circadian rhythms. Tracing these distinct light-input pathways into the brain should aid our understanding of the clock-compass mechanisms necessary for successful migration.
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Citation: Science. 2003 May 23;300(5623):1303-5. Link to article on publisher's site