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Nocturnal windborne migration of ground beetles, particularly Pseudoophonus griseus (Coleoptera: Carabidae), in China

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1 A network of light-traps, an aerial net carried by kytoon (balloon) and two entomological radars were used to investigate whether ground beetles migrate nocturnally through China. The network-wide, simultaneous sudden increase in light trap catches, and after subsequent decrease, indicated a seasonal long-distance night migration of ground beetles, with Pseudoophonus griseus (Panzer) predominant, in August.

2 Aerial net trapping indicated that carabids were able to ascend to altitudes of at least 200 m and become windborne. Radar observations indicated that the migratory beetles formed high-density layer concentrations at approximately 200–300 m.

3 These concentrations were coincident with the top of the temperature inversion and a wind speed maximum, which suggested that the carabids tended to select warm, fast moving air for their long-distance migration.

4 The ground beetles orientated and displaced towards the downwind direction in southerly winds. Their air speed decreased as the tailwind increased and, thus, migrating beetles appeared to be conserving energy.

5 The mean ± SD displacement speed (ground speed) and air speed were 6.85 ± 1.73 m/s (n= 172) and 4.45 ± 1.54 m/s (n= 172), respectively. The duration of flight, estimated from the variation in area density derived from radar data, was approximately 9–10 h, indicating that the beetles might migrate hundreds of kilometres in a single flight.

Keywords: Carabid; Pseudoophonus griseus (Panzer); flight behaviour; light trapping; nocturnal migration; radar observations

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-9563.2007.00326.x

Affiliations: State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, 100094, P. R. China

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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