Experiments reported previously demonstrate that free-flying honeybees are able to detect static intensity fluctuations as weak as 26 nT against the background, earth-strength magnetic field. We report here an extension of this work to weak, alternating fields at frequencies of 10 and 60 Hz. Our results indicate that the sensitivity of the honeybee magnetoreception system decreases rapidly with increasing frequency. At 60 Hz, alternating field strengths above 100 µT are required to elicit discrimination. These results are consistent with biophysical predictions of a magnetite-based magnetoreceptor.
Measurement of the threshold sensitivity of honeybees to weak, extremely low-frequency magnetic fields
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J Kirschvink, S Padmanabha, C Boyce, J Oglesby; Measurement of the threshold sensitivity of honeybees to weak, extremely low-frequency magnetic fields. J Exp Biol 1 May 1997; 200 (9): 1363–1368. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.200.9.1363
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