Insect migration: Variability and success in a capricious environment

  • A. G. Gatehouse
Special Issue Dispersal Polymorphism of Insects: Its Adaptation and Evolution Part 1


Stochastic effects of climate and weather have a pervasive influence on the induction, performance and evolution of migration. In wing-dimorphic species, their influence on habitat quality, and on rates of development of the migrant itself, maintains variation in responses to environmental cues determining wing-form and migratory behaviour. Migrants flying above their flight boundary layer rely on winds to disperse them across landscapes in which their habitats are distributed. Patterns of distribution of habitat patches, and the influence of changing windspeeds and direction on the displacements of migrants, result in selection for variation in migratory potential at each migration. In subsequent migrations, this variation and stochastic effects of the winds on groundtracks of individual migrants ensure that their destinations ‘sample’ the landscapes they travel over. The extent and resolution of this sampling, by which migrants reach favourable habitats, depend on the components of migratory potential, their mode of inheritance, and genetic correlations between them, as well as on the characteristics of the winds on which they travel.

Key words

insect migration evolution of migration flight capacity pre-reproductive period migratory potential migration and weather 


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Copyright information

© Society of Population Ecology 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. Gatehouse
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of Wales-BangorGwyneddUK

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