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Queen’s researcher investigating navigation system of bogong moth

Barrie Frost at research site

An international team of researchers that includes Barrie Frost (Psychology) is hoping to unravel the mystery of how bogong moths navigate during their annual migration to and from caves in the Snowy Mountains of southeastern Australia. Millions of these night-flying moths, which are crucial to the survival of nearly every species in the Snowy Mountains, live in these caves during the summer months to escape the heat.

Dr. Frost, director of the Visual and Auditory Neuroscience Lab at Queen’s, had previously created a flight simulator to help study the navigation of monarch butterflies. The data generated during that study indicated that monarch butterflies use an internal time compensated sun compass to migrate. The flight simulator device has been adapted for use in the bogong moth study.

“The bogong is an iconic moth. It’s been used by the Aboriginals for feasts for centuries. We needed to learn more about it,” he says. “The question is how can the moth hatch as an adult and immediately fly south 2,000 kilometres to the Snowy Mountains having never been there before and having no one to show them.”

Read the full story in the Queen’s Gazette.