Evidence for an ability to respond to the earth's magnetic field has been found in many animals, including as well as in some bacteria [Link].

Some examples:

The location and mechanism of action of the receptors in these animals is still a puzzle. Several possible magnetoreceptors have been found to contain magnetic material, e.g., microscopic grains of magnetite (FeO.Fe2O3), but how these might function is not yet clear.

There is also evidence that birds and amphibians can supplement their magnetic sense using the interaction of light and magnetic lines of force on cryptochrome molecules in their retina.

The ability of Drosophila to respond to magnetic fields depends on blue light and cryptochrome.

Link to view of magnetic grains in a bacterium.
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31 May 2012