## Bats Use Magnetite to Detect the Earth's Magnetic Field

2008
##### Authors
Kirschvink, Joseph L.
Doak, Thomas G.
Journal article
Published
##### Published in
PLoS one ; 3 (2008), 2. - e1676. - eISSN 1932-6203
##### Abstract
While the role of magnetic cues for compass orientation has been confirmed in numerous animals, the mechanism of detection is still debated. Two hypotheses have been proposed, one based on a light dependent mechanism, apparently used by birds and another based on a “compass organelle” containing the iron oxide particles magnetite (Fe3O4). Bats have recently been shown to use magnetic cues for compass orientation but the method by which they detect the Earth's magnetic field remains unknown. Here we use the classic “Kalmijn-Blakemore” pulse re-magnetization experiment, whereby the polarity of cellular magnetite is reversed. The results demonstrate that the big brown bat Eptesicus fuscus uses single domain magnetite to detect the Earths magnetic field and the response indicates a polarity based receptor. Polarity detection is a prerequisite for the use of magnetite as a compass and suggests that big brown bats use magnetite to detect the magnetic field as a compass. Our results indicate the possibility that sensory cells in bats contain freely rotating magnetite particles, which appears not to be the case in birds. It is crucial that the ultrastructure of the magnetite containing magnetoreceptors is described for our understanding of magnetoreception in animals.
##### Subject (DDC)
570 Biosciences, Biology
##### Cite This
ISO 690HOLLAND, Richard A., Joseph L. KIRSCHVINK, Thomas G. DOAK, Martin WIKELSKI, 2008. Bats Use Magnetite to Detect the Earth's Magnetic Field. In: PLoS one. 3(2), e1676. eISSN 1932-6203. Available under: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001676
BibTex
@article{Holland2008-02-27Magne-42448,
year={2008},
doi={10.1371/journal.pone.0001676},
title={Bats Use Magnetite to Detect the Earth's Magnetic Field},
number={2},
volume={3},
journal={PLoS one},
author={Holland, Richard A. and Kirschvink, Joseph L. and Doak, Thomas G. and Wikelski, Martin},
note={Article Number: e1676}
}

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