Report

Illuminating the Circadian Clock in Monarch Butterfly Migration

Science  23 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5623, pp. 1303-1305
DOI: 10.1126/science.1084874

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Abstract

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.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

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