Individual tracking reveals long-distance flight-path control in a nocturnally migrating moth

Menz, Myles H.M., Scacco, Martina, Burki-Spycher, Hans-Martin, Williams, Hannah J., Reynolds, Don R., Chapman, Jason W., and Wikelski, Martin (2022) Individual tracking reveals long-distance flight-path control in a nocturnally migrating moth. Science, 377 (6607). pp. 764-768.

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Abstract

Each year, trillions of insects make long-range seasonal migrations. These movements are relatively well understood at a population level, but how individual insects achieve them remains elusive. Behavioral responses to conditions en route are little studied, primarily owing to the challenges of tracking individual insects. Using a light aircraft and individual radio tracking, we show that nocturnally migrating death's-head hawkmoths maintain control of their flight trajectories over long distances. The moths did not just fly with favorable tailwinds; during a given night, they also adjusted for head and crosswinds to precisely hold course. This behavior indicates that the moths use a sophisticated internal compass to maintain seasonally beneficial migratory trajectories independent of wind conditions, illuminating how insects traverse long distances to take advantage of seasonal resources.

Item ID: 75948
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-9203
Copyright Information: © 2022 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2022 08:53
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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