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October 6, 2015

4 animal behaviors that will amaze you.

1. Eels that navigate the ocean

American and European eels are born in the same place, a seaweed-rich plot in the Atlantic Ocean called the Sargasso Sea. From there, they go their separate ways: Europeans head east and, in true Oregon Trail fashion, the Americans go west. All adult eels return to the Sargasso to spawn. How they navigate remains a mystery, though some speculate they rely on the Earth's magnetic field.

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

2. Bugs that use the Milky Way to navigate their poop balls

Earlier this year, WCS's Natalie Ingle shared the story of the African dung beetle on our photo blog, Wild View. Dung beetles, who play a crucial lifecycle role according to Ingle, are known to gather and push small balls of waste as an eventual source of nutrients. When fitted with tiny hats by researchers, though, unable to see the night sky, some beetles wandered aimlessly.

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Photo Credit: ©Natalie Ingle

3. Elephants mourn their dead

Elephants are capable of expressing grief. And when they come across the bones of their dead, they can identify them and pay homage, gently touching the skulls and tusks with their trunks and feet. They may even stay by the bodies of slain herd members for hours or days.

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

4. Butterflies that migrate for generations

Imagine setting off on a journey so long your descendants will be the ones to finish it. That's the monarch butterfly migration. Unlike other butterflies, North American monarchs can't overwinter. Instead, they fly south, some as far as 3,000 miles. It may be many generations before they return.

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

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