Appetitive flight patterns of male Agrotis segetum moths over landscape scales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An analysis is presented of the first harmonic radar studies of pheromone-plume locating flights of male Agrotis segetum moths over distances of up to 500m. Upon release most moths flew in a direction having a downwind component. The first significant changes in flight orientations occur in the immediate vicinity of a pheromone source. Moths that were initially flying downwind change course and start flying crosswind whilst those that initially flew crosswind change course and start flying upwind. It is shown that such behaviour is consistent with the adoption of an effective plume-location strategy, and conditions are identified when downwind flights would be more advantageous than crosswind ones. Additionally, some of the complex flight patterns that can arise at later times are shown to be compatible with the adoption of an optimal biased scale-free (Levy-flight) searching strategy. It is found that disruptive doses of sex pheromone can have a marked influence upon male moth flight patterns.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences
  • Zoology


  • Pheromone plumes, Noctuidae, Agrotis segetum, Lepidoptera, Casting, Lévy flights
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-149
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch