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

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Gao, B., Wooton, K. R., Hawkes, W. L. S., Menz, M. H. M., Reynolds, D. R., Zhai, B-P. and Chapman, J. W. 2020. Adaptive strategies of high-flying migratory hoverflies in response to wind currents. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 287, p. 20200406. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.0406

AuthorsGao, B., Wooton, K. R., Hawkes, W. L. S., Menz, M. H. M., Reynolds, D. R., Zhai, B-P. and Chapman, J. W.
Abstract

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, mediumsized 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 orientationbehaviour may not be so crucial for the spring movements.

KeywordsEpisyrpgus balteatus; Euprodes corollae; Flight behaviour; Insect migration; Orientation; Sun compass
Year of Publication2020
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Journal citation287, p. 20200406
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.0406
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online03 Jun 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted04 May 2020
PublisherRoyal Society Publishing
ISSN0962-8452

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