Illuminating the circadian clock in monarch butterfly migration

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Reppert Lab

Publication Date


Document Type



*Animal Migration; Animals; Biological Clocks; Butterflies; Circadian Rhythm; Cloning, Molecular; Darkness; Flight, Animal; Light; Nuclear Proteins; Solar System; Ultraviolet Rays


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

DOI of Published Version


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Science (New York, N.Y.)

PubMed ID