The magnetic sense and its use in long-distance navigation by animals

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2002 Dec;12(6):735-44. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(02)00389-6.


True navigation by animals is likely to depend on events occurring in the individual cells that detect magnetic fields. Minimum thresholds of detection, perception and 'interpretation' of magnetic field stimuli must be met if animals are to use a magnetic sense to navigate. Recent technological advances in animal tracking devices now make it possible to test predictions from models of navigation based on the use of variations in magnetic intensity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cues
  • Distance Perception / physiology
  • Earth, Planet
  • Magnetics*
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*