Patterns of high-flying insect abundance are shaped by landscape type and abiotic conditions

Sci Rep. 2023 Sep 13;13(1):15114. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-42212-z.


Insects are of increasing conservation concern as a severe decline of both biomass and biodiversity have been reported. At the same time, data on where and when they occur in the airspace is still sparse, and we currently do not know whether their density is linked to the type of landscape above which they occur. Here, we combined data of high-flying insect abundance from six locations across Switzerland representing rural, urban and mountainous landscapes, which was recorded using vertical-looking radar devices. We analysed the abundance of high-flying insects in relation to meteorological factors, daytime, and type of landscape. Air pressure was positively related to insect abundance, wind speed showed an optimum, and temperature and wind direction did not show a clear relationship. Mountainous landscapes showed a higher insect abundance than the other two landscape types. Insect abundance increased in the morning, decreased in the afternoon, had a peak after sunset, and then declined again, though the extent of this general pattern slightly differed between landscape types. We conclude that the abundance of high-flying insects is not only related to abiotic parameters, but also to the type of landscapes and its characteristics, which, on a long-term, should be taken into account for when designing conservation measures for insects.

PMID:37704700 | PMC:PMC10499926 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-023-42212-z


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