London: Scientists have shown for the first
time that insects like mammals, use vision rather than touch
to find footholds.
They made the discovery, thanks to high-speed video
cameras ? technology the BBC uses to capture its stunning
wildlife footage? That they used to film desert locusts
stepping along the rungs of a miniature ladder.
The results are published this month in Current Biology.
The study sheds new light on insects` ability to perform
complex tasks such as visually-guided limb control, usually
associated with mammals.
According to lead author Dr Jeremy Niven of the
University of Cambridge, "This is another example of insects
performing a behaviour we previously thought was restricted to
relatively big-brained animals with sophisticated motor
control such as humans, monkeys or octopuses."
Because insects such as bees and flies spend a lot of
time flying, most research has concentrated on how insects use
vision during flight.
Many insects that spend a lot of time walking, such as
stick insects, crickets and cockroaches have relatively small
eyes and use long antennae to `feel` their way through the