, Volume 28, Issue 3-4, pp 353-374

The vertical distribution of macro-insects migrating in the nocturnal boundary layer: A radar study

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Abstract

A special-purpose radar has been used to observe the vertical distribution of large, strong-flying insects migrating in the nocturnal boundary layer over the central-western plains region of New South Wales. During the period of take-off flight at dusk, the density of insects decreased monotonically with height, and a distribution of this type persisted for much of the night in the zone of steady temperature lapse extending from the top of the inversion layer to the flight ceiling at about 1 km. Later in the night, the insects often became concentrated in the warm air at the top of the inversion layer. The lower boundary of this concentration sometimes became sharply defined, but above the zone of maximum insect density there was usually a smooth decrease of insect numbers with altitude. When the boundary layer was disturbed by an atmospheric density current, the direction and vertical distribution of the migration was permanently changed; solitary wave disturbances, however, had only a transient effect.