The bat–bird–bug battle: Daily flight activity of insects and their predators over a rice field revealed by high-resolution scheimpflug lidar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We present the results of, to our knowledge, the first Lidar study applied to continuous and simultaneous monitoring of aerial insects, bats and birds. It illustrates how common patterns of flight activity, e.g. insect swarming around twilight, depend on predation risk and other constraints acting on the faunal components. Flight activity was monitored over a rice field in China during one week in July 2016, using a high-resolution Scheimpflug Lidar system. The monitored Lidar transect was about 520 m long and covered approximately 2.5 m3. The observed biomass spectrum was bimodal, and targets were separated into insects and vertebrates in a categorization supported by visual observations. Peak flight activity occurred at dusk and dawn, with a 37 min time difference between the bat and insect peaks. Hence, bats started to feed in declining insect activity after dusk and stopped before the rise in activity before dawn. A similar time difference between insects and birds may have occurred, but it was not obvious, perhaps because birds were relatively scarce. Our observations are consistent with the hypothesis that flight activity of bats is constrained by predation in bright light, and that crepuscular insects exploit this constraint by swarming near to sunset/sunrise to minimize predation from bats.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • South China Normal University
  • Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Behavioral Sciences Biology

Keywords

  • Agriculture, Bats, China, Ecosystem service, Entomology, Predation
Original languageEnglish
Article number172303
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 4
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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