When determining the direction for movement, frogs can rely on the Earth’s magnetic field. Birds are endowed with similar abilities. This discovery was made during the joint work of biologists at the Lomonosov Moscow State University Research Institute of Nuclear Physics.
The study of this ability of frogs is important, since such a mechanism could be used in many areas. The object of study was ordinary lake frogs. Every year they migrate between reservoirs to spawn and back to their usual habitat.
The first stage of the study occurred in autumn – during this period, the movement of frogs is associated with wintering. For the winter, they choose the Moscow River as their place of residence and only with the onset of spring they go back to the ponds. When considering the directions, it turned out that in preparation for winter, the frogs move in a north-easterly direction, and in spring strictly in the opposite direction – to the southwest.
Scientists transferred frogs to fields located within a kilometer from reservoirs, after which the animals did not disperse randomly, but moved together in one direction, which was parallel to the direction of migrating individuals.
Based on this, it was suggested that orientation in space is performed using a magnetic compass. Confirmation of this was found in an experiment on placing individuals in a maze with a variable magnetic field – relative to the field, the frogs always chose the same direction. Following the proof, scientists will have a more interesting task – to understand the nature of the mechanism itself for sensing the Earth’s magnetic field.