Insects use vision to find footholds: Study
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Last Updated: Saturday, December 26, 2009, 18:10
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 environment.


First Published: Saturday, December 26, 2009, 18:10

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