In-vivo biomagnetic characterisation of the American cockroach

Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 23;8(1):5140. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23005-1.


We present a quantitative method, utilising a highly sensitive quantum sensor, that extends applicability of magnetorelaxometry to biological samples at physiological temperature. The observed magnetic fields allow for non-invasive determination of physical properties of magnetic materials and their surrounding environment inside the specimen. The method is applied to American cockroaches and reveals magnetic deposits with strikingly different behaviour in alive and dead insects. We discuss consequences of this finding to cockroach magneto-reception. To our knowledge, this work represents the first characterisation of the magnetisation dynamics in live insects and helps to connect results from behavioural experiments on insects in magnetic fields with characterisation of magnetic materials in their corpses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Female
  • Magnetic Fields*
  • Male
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Periplaneta* / anatomy & histology
  • Periplaneta* / metabolism