Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Radar tracking reveals that butterflies follow decisive flight paths

06.04.2005


Butterfly with antenna attached. BBSRC and Rothamsted Research


The charming meanderings of butterflies are not as random as they appear, according to new research1. Scientists at Rothamsted Research,2 a research institute sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in Hertfordshire, have found that their seemingly irresolute flutterings are in fact decisive flight paths. The harmonic radar has been used before to track the flights of bumblebees and honeybees. Now it has been shown to work for butterflies too, opening a new window on the flight behaviour of these important pollinating species.

BBSRC-funded researcher Lizzie Cant has attached tiny radar transponders, weighing only about 12mg (4-8% of body weight), to peacock or small tortoiseshell butterflies. This allows her to use harmonic radar to track the butterfly’s position accurately up to 1km away. Previous studies had to use visual observation (difficult over 50m) or indirect mark-recapture techniques.

Butterflies were tracked undertaking fast, directed flights to potential feeding sites or interspersing periods of foraging with looping "orientation" flights. Knowing how butterflies navigate can help us understand how capable they are of maintaining sustainable populations in our increasingly fragmented countryside.



Lizzie Cant said, "Butterflies are important pollinators, providing a crucial service to plants in many ecosystems. This research will help us to understand a little more about how they survive in a countryside that is becoming more and more fragmented."

Matt Goode | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Polymers Based on Boron?
18.01.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production
18.01.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel chip-based gene expression tool analyzes RNA quickly and accurately

18.01.2018 | Medical Engineering

Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust

18.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>