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The ‘migratory connectivity’ concept, and its applicability to insect migrants

The ‘migratory connectivity’ concept, and its applicability to insect migrants

Gao, Boya, Hedlund, Johanna, Reynolds, Don R. ORCID: 0000-0001-8749-7491 , Zhai, Baoping, Hu, Gao and Chapman, Jason W. ORCID: 0000-0002-7475-4441 (2020) The ‘migratory connectivity’ concept, and its applicability to insect migrants. Movement Ecology, 8 (1):48. ISSN 2051-3933 (Online) (doi:

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Migratory connectivity describes the degree of linkage between different parts of an animal’s migratory range due to the movement trajectories of individuals. High connectivity occurs when individuals from one particular part of the migratory range move almost exclusively to another localized part of the migratory range with little mixing with individuals from other regions. Conversely, low migratory connectivity describes the situation where individuals spread over a wide area during migration and experience a large degree of mixing with individuals from elsewhere. The migratory connectivity concept is frequently applied to vertebrate migrants (especially birds), and it is highly relevant to conservation and management of populations. However, it is rarely employed in the insect migration literature, largely because much less is known about the migration circuits of most migratory insects than is known about birds. In this review, we discuss the applicability of the migratory connectivity concept to long-range insect migrations. In contrast to birds, insect migration circuits typically comprise multigenerational movements of geographically unstructured (non-discrete) populations between broad latitudinal zones. Also, compared to the faster-flying birds, the lower degree of control over movement directions would also tend to reduce connectivity in many insect migrants. Nonetheless, after taking account of these differences, we argue that the migratory connectivity framework can still be applied to insects, and we go on to consider postulated levels of connectivity in some of the most intensively studied insect migrants. We conclude that a greater understanding of insect migratory connectivity would be of value for conserving threatened species and managing pests.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s). 2020 Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bogong moth, Brown planthopper, Compass orientation, Fall armyworm moth, Green darner dragonfly, Monarch butterfly, Windborne migration
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2020 18:35

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