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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY-BASED MANAGEMENT OF BOLL WEEVILS AND POST-ERADICATION CROP PESTS Title: Noctuid migration in the nocturnal aeroecological boundary layer

Author
item Westbrook, John

Submitted to: Integrative & Comparative Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 21, 2008
Publication Date: May 22, 2008
Citation: Westbrook, J.K. 2008. Noctuid migration in the nocturnal aeroecological boundary layer. Integrative & Comparative Biology. 48:99-106.

Interpretive Summary: Corn earworms and several other crop insect pest species migrate as adult moths, which facilitates their seasonal expansion and consequently increase infestations of agricultural crops on a continental scale in North America. Population growth and migratory flights of corn earworms and fall armyworms in the United States were evaluated using radar observations and profiles of atmospheric conditions. Characteristic patterns of migratory flight were identified and were largely associated with vertical profiles of temperature and wind speed. Collective patterns of moth migration were generally highly correlated with wind headings, but often at a significant crosswind angle. Airborne moth distributions were estimated from discrete radar counts of moths and radar reflectivity data from NEXRAD Doppler weather radar. Identification of associations between atmospheric factors and pest population growth and migratory flights will improve the ability to predict infestations by pest species throughout their broad seasonal range expansion.

Technical Abstract: Long-distance migration of adult corn earworm moths (Helicoverpa zea), and several other noctuid moth species, facilitates seasonal expansion of pest populations and consequent increased infestations of agricultural crops on a continental scale in North America. Long-term field studies of population dynamics and migratory flights of H. zea and fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) in the United States were evaluated using X-band radar observations and profiles of atmospheric conditions. These studies identified characteristic patterns of migratory flight that are largely associated with vertical profiles of temperature and wind speed. Collective patterns of moth migrations were generally highly correlated with wind headings, but often at a significant angular deviation. Preliminary analyses are presented between moth distributions in the aerosphere estimated from discrete moth counts using X-band radar and bulk reflectivity data from NEXRAD Doppler radar. Identification of associations between atmospheric factors and noctuid population dynamics and migratory flights will improve the ability to predict infestations by pest species throughout their broad seasonal range expansion.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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