Adaptive strategies of high-flying migratory hoverflies in response to wind currents

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2020
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Gao, Boya
Wotton, Karl R.
Hawkes, Will L. S.
Reynolds, Don R.
Zhai, Bao-Ping
Hu, Gao
Chapman, Jason W.
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Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B : Biological Sciences. Royal Society of London. 2020, 287(1928), 20200406. ISSN 0962-8452. eISSN 1471-2954. Available under: doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.0406
Zusammenfassung

Large migrating insects, flying at high altitude, often exhibit complex behaviour. They frequently elect to fly on winds with directions quite different from the prevailing direction, and they show a degree of common orientation, both of which facilitate transport in seasonally beneficial directions. Much less is known about the migration behaviour of smaller (10-70 mg) insects. To address this issue, we used radar to examine the high-altitude flight of hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae), a group of day-active, medium-sized insects commonly migrating over the UK. We found that autumn migrants, which must move south, did indeed show migration timings and orientation responses that would take them in this direction, despite the unfavourability of the prevailing winds. Evidently, these hoverfly migrants must have a compass (probably a time-compensated solar mechanism), and a means of sensing the wind direction (which may be determined with sufficient accuracy at ground level, before take-off). By contrast, hoverflies arriving in the UK in spring showed weaker orientation tendencies, and did not correct for wind drift away from their seasonally adaptive direction (northwards). However, the spring migrants necessarily come from the south (on warm southerly winds), so we surmise that complex orientation behaviour may not be so crucial for the spring movements.

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Fachgebiet (DDC)
570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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orientation, sun compass, insect migration, Eupeodes corolla, Episyrphus balteatus, flight behaviour
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ISO 690GAO, Boya, Karl R. WOTTON, Will L. S. HAWKES, Myles MENZ, Don R. REYNOLDS, Bao-Ping ZHAI, Gao HU, Jason W. CHAPMAN, 2020. Adaptive strategies of high-flying migratory hoverflies in response to wind currents. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B : Biological Sciences. Royal Society of London. 2020, 287(1928), 20200406. ISSN 0962-8452. eISSN 1471-2954. Available under: doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.0406
BibTex
@article{Gao2020-06-10Adapt-49890,
  year={2020},
  doi={10.1098/rspb.2020.0406},
  title={Adaptive strategies of high-flying migratory hoverflies in response to wind currents},
  number={1928},
  volume={287},
  issn={0962-8452},
  journal={Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B : Biological Sciences},
  author={Gao, Boya and Wotton, Karl R. and Hawkes, Will L. S. and Menz, Myles and Reynolds, Don R. and Zhai, Bao-Ping and Hu, Gao and Chapman, Jason W.},
  note={Article Number: 20200406}
}
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