Path integration in insects

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2000 Dec;10(6):757-62. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(00)00150-1.


The most notable advance in our knowledge of path integration in insects is a new understanding of how the honeybee measures the distance that it travels during its foraging trips. Data from two groups show that the bee's odometer records distance in terms of the net amount of image motion over the retina that is accumulated during a flight. Progress has also been made in clarifying the relation between path integration and other navigational strategies. On unfamiliar ground, path integration is the only available means of navigation. In familiar surroundings, however, guidance by landmarks may override guidance by path integration. Path integration then becomes a back-up strategy that is used primarily when landmarks fail.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Locomotion / physiology*