Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Wind, warmth boost insect migration, study reveals


JULY 8, 2019

Wind and warmth can improve travel time for the billions of insects worldwide that migrate each year, according to a first-ever radio-tracking study by University of Guelph biologists.
Researchers equipped monarch butterfliesand 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.
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.
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.

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