Butterflies are not aimless flyers
Appeared on Space For Nature on April 26th 2005
Researchers have fitted minute transponders to the backs of butterflies enabling them, for the first time, to follow the insects over considerable distances.
The Scientists from Rothamsted Research found that small tortoiseshells (Aglais urticae) and peacocks (Inachis io) do not fly totally randomly. Instead, they seem to adopt one of two flight-path patterns, either flying strongly and directly in a more-or-less straight line or by looping around at much slower speeds. The latter strategy appears to be used to look for food or hibernation sites. The butterflies were able to identify and avoid certain landscape features of no use to them (in this case woodland) from up to 200 metres away. The research might help us understand how to better manage landscape and gardens for the benefit of butterflies.
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