Wind, warmth boost insect migration

ScienceDaily | 7/8/2019 | Staff
megzmegz123 (Posted by) Level 3
Researchers equipped monarch butterflies and green darner dragonflies with radio transmitters and tracked them through southern Ontario and several northern States to learn how environmental factors affect daytime insect migration.

Learning more about what happens to insects during their physically taxing migration period may help in efforts to conserve them, particularly threatened species, said the researchers.

Study - Biology - Letters - Wind - Temperature

The study, which was recently published in Biology Letters, found wind and temperature are more important influences than precipitation for bugs on autumn migration flights spanning thousands of kilometres between their breeding and wintering grounds.

As part of their multigenerational migration, monarchs from Canada overwinter in Mexico and green darners travel to the southern United States.

Size - Insects - Author - Samantha - Knight

Until recently, their small size has made individual insects hard to track. But it's increasingly critical to do just that, said lead author Samantha Knight.

Insects on the wing play vital roles in pollinating crops and in maintaining ecosystems as both prey and predators.

Loss - Land - Use - Changes - Warming

Threatened by habitat loss, land use changes and global warming, she said, "some 40 per cent of insect species risk extinction, yet we know little about what happens to organisms when they migrate."

Study co-author Prof. Ryan Norris, Department of Integrative Biology, added, "Migration is not an easy period for insects. They are likely pushed to their physiological limits. If we have a way to track and understand what habitats they're using, that goes a long way to understanding what might be causing declines."

Part - Study - Researchers - Insects - Ontario

As part of the study, researchers captured insects on Ontario's Bruce Peninsula in fall 2015 and 2016 and outfitted them with battery-powered radio transmitters weighing about as much as a raindrop. Those devices emitted signals picked up by an array of telemetry towers across the southern part of the province and into the northern United States.

The team downloaded data from the towers to track individuals' flight distances and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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