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Efectos del campo geomagnético en insectos sociales

© Darci M. S. Esquivel, Eliane Wajnberg, Léa J. El-Jaick, Daniel Acosta-Avalos, Marília P. Linhares, 2000,
Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas (CBPF). Pontificia Universidad Católica de Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RJ). Instituto de física de la Universidad Federal Fluminense en Rio de Janeiro.


Magnetic orientation in social insects such as ants, bees, wasps and termites has aroused great interest in the last years. However, the mechanisms that transduce the magnetic information into useful sensory signals are still poorly understood. The most popular hypothesis, named the ferromagnetic hypothesis, considers that tiny magnetic particles, such as magnetite (a natural magnet), can play the role of magnetic sensors. In fact, magnetite has been found in Apis mellifera bees and in ants of the species Solenopsis sp. and Pachycondyla marginata. Here we present a brief review of magnetoreception in bees and ants, including our contribution to the study of the biomineralized magnetic particles found in insect bodies, using physical techniques, such as Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR), SQUID magnetometry and Electron Microscopy.