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Studies in the Distribution of Insects by Aerial Currents

A. C. Hardy and P. S. Milne
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 7, No. 2 (Nov., 1938), pp. 199-229
DOI: 10.2307/1156
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1156
Page Count: 34
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Studies in the Distribution of Insects by Aerial Currents
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Abstract

1. The insects carried by convection currents and wind, the aerial plankton, are investigated between the heights of 150 and 2000 ft. by collecting nets carried up by kites. The nets are sent up closed, opened automatically at the desired height, and closed again at the end of the sampling period before being hauled down. 2. The equipment and methods of working are fully described. 3. Eighty-two samples were taken yielding a collection of 839 insects during a total flying time of 124.5 hr. 4. The aerial plankton is made up essentially of small or light-bodied insects with weak powers of flight but with relatively large wing surface compared with body mass. 5. The composition of the aerial plankton at different heights is determined and the height distribution of the different families compared. A list of species identified is appended. 6. The influence of weather conditions is examined. Different insect groups are shown to be affected somewhat differently, but high temperature and low humidity are found for all to be more favourable to aerial drift than the reverse conditions. 7. The average density of the drifting population is estimated for different height ranges up to 2000 ft. 8. The economic significance of insect drift is discussed.

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