Hoverflies use a time-compensated sun compass to orientate during autumn migration

Massy, Richard, Hawkes, Will L.S., Doyle, Toby, Troscianko, Jolyon, Menz, Myles H.M., Roberts, Nicholas W., Chapman, Jason W., and Wotton, Karl R. (2021) Hoverflies use a time-compensated sun compass to orientate during autumn migration. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 288 (1959). 20211805.

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Abstract

The sun is the most reliable celestial cue for orientation available to daytime migrants. It is widely assumed that diurnal migratory insects use a ‘time-compensated sun compass’ to adjust for the changing position of the sun throughout the day, as demonstrated in some butterfly species. The mechanisms used by other groups of diurnal insect migrants remain to be elucidated. Migratory species of hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) are one of the most abundant and beneficial groups of diurnal migrants, providing multiple ecosystem services and undergoing directed seasonal movements throughout much of the temperate zone. To identify the hoverfly navigational strategy, a flight simulator was used to measure orientation responses of the hoverflies Scaeva pyrastri and Scaeva selenitica to celestial cues during their autumn migration. Hoverflies oriented southwards when they could see the sun and shifted this orientation westward following a 6 h advance of their circadian clocks. Our results demonstrate the use of a time-compensated sun compass as the primary navigational mechanism, consistent with field observations that hoverfly migration occurs predominately under clear and sunny conditions.

Item ID: 71321
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2954
Copyright Information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2022 21:15
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity @ 100%
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