Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dragonfly Migration Resembles That Of Birds, Scientists Say

Date:
May 12, 2006
Source:
Princeton University
Summary:
Princeton University scientists have discovered that migrating dragonflies and songbirds exhibit many of the same behaviors, suggesting the rules that govern such long-distance travel may be simpler and more ancient than was once thought.

In collaboration with Michael May (Rutgers U), David Moskowitz (Rutgers U), David Wilcove (Princeton U), Jim Adelman (Princeton U), we are investigating migration in dragonflies along the Eastern seaboard. Here a Green darner is tagged with a 0.3g radio transmitter (Sparrow Systems) for release in Cape May, NJ.
Credit: Photo : Dave Moskowitz

Scientists have discovered that migrating dragonflies and songbirds exhibit many of the same behaviors, suggesting the rules that govern such long-distance travel may be simpler and more ancient than was once thought.

The research, published in the May 11 Biology Letters, is based on data generated by tracking 14 green darner dragonflies with radio transmitters weighing only 300 milligrams -- about a third as much as a paper clip. Green darners are among the 25 to 50 species of dragonflies thought to be migratory among about 5200 species worldwide.

The team of researchers that made the discovery, led by Princeton University's Martin Wikelski, tracked the insects for up to 10 days from both aircraft and handheld devices on the ground. They found that the dragonflies' flight patterns showed many similarities to those of birds that migrate over the same regions of coastal New Jersey.

"The dragonflies' routes have showed distinct stopover and migration days, just as the birds' did," said Wikelski, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. "Additionally, groups of both birds and dragonflies did not migrate on very windy days and only moved after two successive nights of falling temperatures. We saw other similarities as well, which makes us wonder just how far back in Earth's history the rules for migration were established in its animals."

According to fossil records, dragonflies appeared about 285 million years ago, predating the first birds by about 140 million years.

Wikelski said that the findings could also be an important demonstration of how to track small animals over great distances, a technique that could be useful in agriculture and ecological management.

"These small transmitters could enable us to track animals from space all around the globe if satellites were available," Wikelski said. "Though nearly everyone has heard of animal migration, we actually know very little about how animals move. It could tell us a lot about the way species respond to climate change and other disturbances. Because the economies of many nations are still largely agrarian, a better understanding of how, say, locust swarms travel could assist us with managing both local agriculture and the world economy that hinges upon it."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Princeton University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Princeton University. "Dragonfly Migration Resembles That Of Birds, Scientists Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060511081713.htm>.
Princeton University. (2006, May 12). Dragonfly Migration Resembles That Of Birds, Scientists Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060511081713.htm
Princeton University. "Dragonfly Migration Resembles That Of Birds, Scientists Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060511081713.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins