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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Southern Insect Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #392076

Research Project: Ecologically Sustainable Approaches to Insect Resistance Management in Bt Cotton

Location: Southern Insect Management Research

Title: A non-destructive method of calculating the wing area of insects

item YU, KEXIN - Nanjing Forestry University
item Reddy, Gadi V.P.
item SCHRADER, JULIAN - University Of Gottingen
item GUO, XUCHEN - Nanjing Forestry University
item LI, YIRONG - Nanjing Forestry University
item JIAO, YABING - Nanjing Forestry University
item SHI, PEIJIAN - University Of Gottingen

Submitted to: Ecology and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/17/2022
Publication Date: 4/1/2022
Citation: Yu, K., Reddy, G.V., Schrader, J., Guo, X., Li, Y., Jiao, Y., Shi, P. 2022. A non-destructive method of calculating the wing area of insects. Ecology and Evolution. 12:1-10.

Interpretive Summary: The studies were undertaken on the wings of three cicada species in three different genera. We first tested whether the Montgomery equation (ME) can be used to describe a proportional relationship between forewing area and the product between forewing length and width. Second, we compared whether differences existed between pairs of species in the estimates of Montgomery parameter (MP). Third, we pooled the data for the three cicada species and further examined whether ME is still valid in calculating wing area for the mixed data set. The findings confirmed the validity of the ME in calculating the forewing area of three cicada species. The ME had a good goodness of fit for each species. For the pooled data set, the ME was still valid for calculating wing area, which suggests that this method can be potentially extended to other insect species that have similar wing type.

Technical Abstract: Most insects engage in winged flight, and wing loading, i.e., the ratio of body mass to total wing area, has been demonstrated to reflect flight maneuverability. High maneuverability is an important survival trait, allowing insects to escape natural enemies and to compete for mates. In some ecological field experiments, there is a need to calculate the wing area of insects without killing them. However, fast, nondestructive estimation of wing area for insects is not available based on past work. The Montgomery equation (ME), which assumes a proportional relationship between leaf area and the product of leaf length and width, is frequently used to calculate leaf area of plants, in crops with entire linear, lanceolate leaves. Recently, the ME was proved to apply to leaves with more complex shapes from plants that do not have needle leaves. Given that the wings of insects are similar in shape to broad leaves, we tested the validity of the ME approach in calculating the wing area of insects using three species of cicadas common in eastern China. We compared the actual area of the cicadas’ wings with the estimates provide by six potential models used for wing area calculation, and we found that the ME performed best, based on the tradeoff between model structure and goodness of fit. At the species level, the estimates for the proportionality coefficients of ME for three cicada species were 0.686, 0.693, 0.715, respectively, and there were significant differences in the proportionality coefficients between any two species. Our method provides a simple and powerful approach for non-destructive estimation of insect wing area, which is also valuable in quantifying wing morphological features of insects. This method provides a means to estimate wing area of insects without killing them, allowing them to be used in mark and recapture experiments.