Adaptive strategies of high-flying migratory hoverflies in response to wind currents
Chapman, Jason; Gao, Boya (2020), Adaptive strategies of high-flying migratory hoverflies in response to wind currents, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.w9ghx3fm1
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.
The data on hoverfly orientations was collected by vertical-looking entomological radars based in southern UK. These radars are an established tool for collecting insect flight behaviour, and the methodology is described in detail in the associated publication and other related papers found in the bibliography. The dataset consists of a list of migration track directions, flight headings, and moveemnt speeds for all mass hoverfly migrations analysed in this study, and also the wind speed and direction on these occasions.
The data is straightfoward to interpet and use.
China Scholarship Council
Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, Award: BK20170026
H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Award: 795568
National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31822043
Royal Society University Research Fellowship scheme, Award: UF150126
Jiangsu Graduate Research and Innovation Projects, Award: Z561911412