, Volume 99, Issue 9, pp 751–765 | Cite as

Diel flight behaviour and dispersal patterns of aquatic Coleoptera and Heteroptera species with special emphasis on the importance of seasons

  • Zoltán CsabaiEmail author
  • Zoltán Kálmán
  • Ildikó Szivák
  • Pál Boda
Original Paper


Dispersal flight is the most important and almost the only way for primary aquatic insects to find new water habitats. During a 30-week-long project, we monitored the flight dispersal behaviour of aquatic beetles and bugs with using highly and horizontally polarizing agricultural black plastic sheets laid onto the ground. Based on the flight data of more than 45,000 individuals and 92 species, we explored and described eight different diel flight activity patterns. We found that seven of eight dispersal patterns are consistent with the previous knowledge, while three conspicuous mass dispersal periods can be identified as in the mid morning and/or around noon and/or at nightfall. As an exception, we found a ‘daytime’ pattern occurred exclusively in spring, in which mass dispersal can be seen from mid morning to late afternoon. In contrast to previous studies, we emphasize here that the seasonality has to be considered in evaluation of the diurnal flight activity. According to the seasons, a ‘three code sign’ was proposed to indicate the diel dispersal flight behaviour of a species for a year. Most of the species utilize different diel activity patterns in different seasons. In spring, the daytime pattern was the preferred type, but in summer and autumn, the evening types were the most popular patterns. We stated that the seasonal change of air temperature has a crucial role in that a pattern could be manifested in a given season or not and brings a need to change the diel dispersal pattern among seasons.


Aquatic insect dispersal behaviour Diel flight activity Diurnal dispersal patterns Pattern shift among seasons Air temperature dependency 



This work was supported by the grant OTKA F-046653 received by Z. Csabai from the Hungarian Science Foundation. The authors’ thanks are to László Papp, Klára Kecső and Enikő Kovács (University of Debrecen, Hungary) for extensive help during field works. Many thanks to Csaba Bereczki (University of Pécs, Hungary) and Thomas G. Horvath (SUNY Oneonta, NY USA) for providing language improvements. Thanks also for the valuable and constructive comments of four anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zoltán Csabai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zoltán Kálmán
    • 1
  • Ildikó Szivák
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pál Boda
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Hydrobiology, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of PécsPécsHungary
  2. 2.Department of Hydrozoology, Balaton Limnological Institute, Centre for Ecological ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesTihanyHungary
  3. 3.Department of Tisza River Research, Balaton Limnological Institute, Centre for Ecological ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesDebrecenHungary

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