Researchers have known for a while that dung beetles use the sun, the moon or other light source to navigate. Once the beetle acquires a dung ball from the poop pile they want to get away with their “loot” asap to prevent the competition taking it away. And they use a light source to help ensure they navigate in a straight line to prevent circling back to the original poop source and run into the competition.
Researchers from Wits University placed the beetles in a planetarium and clearly observed behavior showing the beetle can use the milky way’s band of light as an alternate light source when all other good sources are not available.
Read this fascinating article over at PlanetSave for the full details.