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    Tables – Animal navigation

    Animal GroupNavigation MethodDescription
    BirdsMagnetoreceptionBirds navigate by sensing the Earth’s magnetic fields. This is how they embark on long migratory journeys.
    Marine animalsSalinity GradientMarine animals such as salmon use changes in water salinity (salt concentration) to navigate their way back to their birthplaces for spawning.
    InsectsSun CompassBees and other insects use the sun as a reference point for directionality. They internalize the sun’s pattern of movement to find their way.
    MammalsLandmarksMammals like wolves or deer use recognizable terrain features and smells as landmarks to navigate.
    BatsEcholocationBats emit sounds and use the time it takes for the sound to return to determine their position relative to objects.
    Sea TurtlesGeomagnetic MapSea turtles use a geomagnetic map, where they imprint on the magnetic field of their natal beach, and use this information to return there to lay eggs.
    PigeonsVisual MappingPigeons use a combination of visual mapping (landmarks), the sun’s movements, and sensing Earth’s magnetic fields to navigate.
    AntsPath Integration/Dead ReckoningAnts use the method of path integration, where they consistently update their position relative to a starting point (e.g. their nest) to navigate.
    SpidersVibrationsMany spiders sense vibrations and use that information to navigate their local environments.