Christopher Intagliata: If you consider pollinators–what involves thoughts? Bees, butterflies, possibly hummingbirds. Properly how about… flies?
C. Scott Clem: Flies usually are the second most vital group of pollinating bugs. So I feel they deserve extra credit score than they usually get.
Intagliata: C. Scott Clem is an insect ecologist on the College of Georgia. He is been learning a kind of fly often known as a “hoverfly.” You will have really seen them earlier than, masquerading as bees and wasps.
Clem: They are usually yellow and black coloured, and so they’re form of completely different from different flies in that regard. They’re these little bugs you usually discover visiting flowers or typically they’re going to really land in your pores and skin searching for the salt in your pores and skin.
Intagliata: By learning isotopes within the bugs’ legs and wings, Clem and his colleagues have now decided that a few of these flies make a exceptional autumn migration. They appear to originate close to Ontario, Canada—after which they fly a whole bunch of miles south, to central Illinois. And it is potential some journey even additional—hundreds of miles, maybe.
Clem: They stand up into excessive altitude air currents. They’re in a position to surf on these winds mainly, and it takes them these huge distances.
Intagliata: The outcomes seem within the journal Ecological Monographs. [C. Scott Clem et al., Do Nearctic hover flies (Diptera: Syrphidae) engage in long-distance migration? An assessment of evidence and mechanisms]
As for why the flies migrate? Clem says they may be pursuing the aphids they eat southward…or possibly they’re following the blooms of nectar-rich flowers.
Clem: In the event that they’re shifting they could possibly be shifting these ecological providers throughout the continent on an annual foundation.
Intagliata: The scientists write that the flies could possibly be transporting billions of grains of pollen throughout the continent, all whereas working to exterminate pests. So even when hoverflies’ bee-like look is mere mimicry—the ecological providers they supply might very nicely be the actual deal.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]