The use of hedgerows as flight paths by moths in intensive farmland landscapes

Emma Coulthard, Duncan McCollin, James Littlemore

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Abstract

Linear boundary features such as hedgerows are important habitats for invertebrates in agricultural landscapes. Such features can provide shelter, larval food plants and nectar resources. UK butterflies are known to rely on such features, however their use by moths is understudied. With moth species suffering from significant declines, research into their ecology is important. This research aimed to determine whether UK moth species are using hedgerows as flight paths in intensive farmland. The directional movements of moths were recorded along hedgerows at 1, 5 and 10 m from the hedgerow face. The majority of moths recorded within the study were observed at 1 m from the hedgerow (68 %), and of these individuals, 69% were moving parallel in relation to the hedge. At further distances, the proportion of parallel movements was reduced. These results suggest that hedgerows may be providing sheltered corridors for flying insects in farmland landscapes, as well as likely providing food plants and nectar resources, emphasising the importance of resource-based approaches to conservation for Lepidoptera.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345–350
JournalJournal of Insect Conservation
Volume20
Issue number2
Early online date23 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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moths
agricultural land
flight
food plants
nectar
butterflies
invertebrates
Lepidoptera
ecology
insects
habitats

Keywords

  • Hedgerows
  • Lepidoptera
  • linear boundary features
  • moths
  • wildlife corridors

Cite this

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title = "The use of hedgerows as flight paths by moths in intensive farmland landscapes",
abstract = "Linear boundary features such as hedgerows are important habitats for invertebrates in agricultural landscapes. Such features can provide shelter, larval food plants and nectar resources. UK butterflies are known to rely on such features, however their use by moths is understudied. With moth species suffering from significant declines, research into their ecology is important. This research aimed to determine whether UK moth species are using hedgerows as flight paths in intensive farmland. The directional movements of moths were recorded along hedgerows at 1, 5 and 10 m from the hedgerow face. The majority of moths recorded within the study were observed at 1 m from the hedgerow (68 {\%}), and of these individuals, 69{\%} were moving parallel in relation to the hedge. At further distances, the proportion of parallel movements was reduced. These results suggest that hedgerows may be providing sheltered corridors for flying insects in farmland landscapes, as well as likely providing food plants and nectar resources, emphasising the importance of resource-based approaches to conservation for Lepidoptera.",
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The use of hedgerows as flight paths by moths in intensive farmland landscapes. / Coulthard, Emma; McCollin, Duncan; Littlemore, James.

In: Journal of Insect Conservation, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2016, p. 345–350.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

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AU - Coulthard, Emma

AU - McCollin, Duncan

AU - Littlemore, James

PY - 2016

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AB - Linear boundary features such as hedgerows are important habitats for invertebrates in agricultural landscapes. Such features can provide shelter, larval food plants and nectar resources. UK butterflies are known to rely on such features, however their use by moths is understudied. With moth species suffering from significant declines, research into their ecology is important. This research aimed to determine whether UK moth species are using hedgerows as flight paths in intensive farmland. The directional movements of moths were recorded along hedgerows at 1, 5 and 10 m from the hedgerow face. The majority of moths recorded within the study were observed at 1 m from the hedgerow (68 %), and of these individuals, 69% were moving parallel in relation to the hedge. At further distances, the proportion of parallel movements was reduced. These results suggest that hedgerows may be providing sheltered corridors for flying insects in farmland landscapes, as well as likely providing food plants and nectar resources, emphasising the importance of resource-based approaches to conservation for Lepidoptera.

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