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A cold high-pressure system over North China hinders the southward migration of Mythimna separata in autumn

A cold high-pressure system over North China hinders the southward migration of Mythimna separata in autumn

Zhu, Jian, Chen, Xiao, Liu, Jie, Jiang, Yuying, Chen, Fajun, Lu, Jiahao, Chen, Hui, Zhai, Baoping, Reynolds, Don ORCID: 0000-0001-8749-7491, Chapman, Jason W. and Hu, Gao (2022) A cold high-pressure system over North China hinders the southward migration of Mythimna separata in autumn. Movement Ecology, 10 (1):54. pp. 1-12. ISSN 2051-3933 (Online) (doi:

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In warm regions or seasons of the year, the planetary boundary layer is occupied by a huge variety and quantity of insects, but the southward migration of insects (in East Asia) in autumn is still poorly understood.
We collated daily catches of the oriental armyworm (Mythimna separata) moth from 20 searchlight traps from 2014 to 2017 in China. In order to explore the autumn migratory connectivity of M. separata in East China, we analyzed the autumn climate and simulated the autumn migration process of moths.
The results confirmed that northward moth migration in spring and summer under the East Asian monsoon system can bring rapid population growth. However, slow southerly wind (blowing towards the north) prevailed over the major summer breeding area in North China (33°–40° N) due to a cold high-pressure system located there, and this severely disrupts the autumn ‘return’ migration of this pest. Less than 8% of moths from the summer breeding area successfully migrated back to their winter-breeding region, resulting in a sharp decline of the population abundance in autumn. As northerly winds (blowing towards the south) predominate at the eastern periphery of a high-pressure system, the westward movement of the high-pressure system leads to more northerlies over North China, increasing the numbers of moths migrating southward successfully. Therefore, an outbreak year of M. separata larvae was associated with a more westward position of the high-pressure system during the previous autumn.
These results indicate that the southward migration in autumn is crucial for sustaining pest populations of M. separata, and the position of the cold high-pressure system in September is a key environmental driver of the population size in the next year. This study indicates that the autumn migration of insects in East China is more complex than previously recognized, and that the meteorological conditions in autumn are an important driver of migratory insects’ seasonal and interannual population dynamics.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: insect migration; East Asian monsoon; wind pattern; population dynamics; Lepidoptera
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QL Zoology
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Pest Behaviour Research Group
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2022 16:11

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