, Volume 141, Issue 2, pp 233-237

The natural flight of the migratory locust,Locusta migratoria L.

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High speed cine film ofLocusta migratoria swarms was analysed. The following variables were studied and compared where possible with laboratory data: 1. Wing-beat frequencies of locusts of Australian and New Guinea swarms (mean 22.9 Hz) were higher than laboratory figures (19.8 Hz; Fig. 1). 2. Mean flight speed was 4.6 m/s, which was higher than laboratory figures (3.3 m/s; Fig. 2). 3. Mean body angle to horizontal was 7.4°, and to flight path (in the vertical plane) was 5.2°. Flight speed was found to be correlated with wing-beat frequency with a similar regression line to that found in laboratory work (Fig. 4). Ascent angle was positively correlated with the body angle to horizontal, but not correlated with body angle to flight path (Figs. 3, 5, 6).

We thank Miss V. Rostock for assisting in the evaluations and Mr. E. Friedrich for preparing the figures. The field observations were made possible with generous assistance from the Department of Entomology, CSIRO, Canberra, and DASF, Bubia, Papua New Guinea. Special thanks are due to Dr. R.A. Farrow and staff of the locust section, CSIRO. The analysis of the field data was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Ge 249/5 and 6).