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Evidence for a southward autumn migration of nocturnal noctuid moths in central Europe

Dreyer, David LU ; El Jundi, Basil LU ; Kishkinev, Dmitry; Suchentrunk, Carina; Campostrini, Lena; Frost, Barrie J.; Zechmeister, Thomas and Warrant, Eric J. LU (2018) In The Journal of experimental biology 221.
Abstract

Insect migrations are spectacular natural events and resemble a remarkable relocation of biomass between two locations in space. Unlike the well-known migrations of daytime flying butterflies, such as the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) or the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), much less widely known are the migrations of nocturnal moths. These migrations - typically involving billions of moths from different taxa - have recently attracted considerable scientific attention. Nocturnal moth migrations have traditionally been investigated by light trapping and by observations in the wild, but in recent times a considerable improvement in our understanding of this phenomenon has come from studying insect orientation behaviour, using... (More)

Insect migrations are spectacular natural events and resemble a remarkable relocation of biomass between two locations in space. Unlike the well-known migrations of daytime flying butterflies, such as the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) or the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), much less widely known are the migrations of nocturnal moths. These migrations - typically involving billions of moths from different taxa - have recently attracted considerable scientific attention. Nocturnal moth migrations have traditionally been investigated by light trapping and by observations in the wild, but in recent times a considerable improvement in our understanding of this phenomenon has come from studying insect orientation behaviour, using vertical-looking radar. In order to establish a new model organism to study compass mechanisms in migratory moths, we tethered each of two species of central European Noctuid moths in a flight simulator to study their flight bearings: the red underwing (Catocala nupta) and the large yellow underwing (Noctua pronuba). Both species had significantly oriented flight bearings under an unobscured view of the clear night sky and in the Earth's natural magnetic field. Red underwings oriented south-southeast, while large yellow underwings oriented southwest, both suggesting a southerly autumn migration towards the Mediterranean. Interestingly, large yellow underwings became disoriented on humid (foggy) nights while red underwings remained oriented. We found no evidence in either species for a time-independent sky compass mechanism as previously suggested for the large yellow underwing.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Compass sense, Insect migration, Moth migration, Navigation, Noctuid, Orientation
in
The Journal of experimental biology
volume
221
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • scopus:85059284671
ISSN
1477-9145
DOI
10.1242/jeb.179218
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c57bf027-a29a-4fb0-8e65-23683d8de824
date added to LUP
2019-01-11 14:21:33
date last changed
2019-02-20 11:42:51
@article{c57bf027-a29a-4fb0-8e65-23683d8de824,
  abstract     = {<p>Insect migrations are spectacular natural events and resemble a remarkable relocation of biomass between two locations in space. Unlike the well-known migrations of daytime flying butterflies, such as the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) or the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), much less widely known are the migrations of nocturnal moths. These migrations - typically involving billions of moths from different taxa - have recently attracted considerable scientific attention. Nocturnal moth migrations have traditionally been investigated by light trapping and by observations in the wild, but in recent times a considerable improvement in our understanding of this phenomenon has come from studying insect orientation behaviour, using vertical-looking radar. In order to establish a new model organism to study compass mechanisms in migratory moths, we tethered each of two species of central European Noctuid moths in a flight simulator to study their flight bearings: the red underwing (Catocala nupta) and the large yellow underwing (Noctua pronuba). Both species had significantly oriented flight bearings under an unobscured view of the clear night sky and in the Earth's natural magnetic field. Red underwings oriented south-southeast, while large yellow underwings oriented southwest, both suggesting a southerly autumn migration towards the Mediterranean. Interestingly, large yellow underwings became disoriented on humid (foggy) nights while red underwings remained oriented. We found no evidence in either species for a time-independent sky compass mechanism as previously suggested for the large yellow underwing.</p>},
  articleno    = {jeb179218},
  author       = {Dreyer, David and El Jundi, Basil and Kishkinev, Dmitry and Suchentrunk, Carina and Campostrini, Lena and Frost, Barrie J. and Zechmeister, Thomas and Warrant, Eric J.},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  keyword      = {Compass sense,Insect migration,Moth migration,Navigation,Noctuid,Orientation},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {The Journal of experimental biology},
  title        = {Evidence for a southward autumn migration of nocturnal noctuid moths in central Europe},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.179218},
  volume       = {221},
  year         = {2018},
}