I’m still super busy, so how about you visit LabLit and read about the amazing migration of the Painted Lady Butterfly. The article is written by a researcher that is putting the butterflies into a flight simulator (!) to determine how they orient. In other words, how do they know in which direction to fly?
The Painted Lady migrates from Africa all the way to Britain and northern Europe. I suspect Nesbit’s work is related to further elaboration on this recent paper, that described two layers of migration: One at the ground level, relatively independent of wind movement, and another at very high altitudes, where prevailing winds would move the butterflies without much effort very great distances.
Nesbit works in the Chapman lab, which has done a great deal of work on butterfly migration.
- Interview with Chapman by BBC about Painted Lady migration
- A presentation (PDF) about insect migration from Chapman
- The painted lady is a globally distributed species, and you can find them in the US. You can help report Painted Lady migration in the US via a Citizen Science project!
Full citation of paper:
Stefanescu C, Alarcón M, Avila A. (2007). Migration of the painted lady butterfly, Vanessa cardui, to north-eastern Spain is aided by African wind currents. J. Animal Ecology, 76 (5), 888-898