Flight activity of adult stoneflies in relation to weather


R. A. Briers, Institute of Biological Sciences, Edward Llwyd Building, University of Wales Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3DA, U.K. E-mail: rob@aber.ac.uk


Abstract. 1. Dispersal of adult aquatic insects between streams may have important consequences for local and regional population dynamics, but little is known about how dispersal is affected by weather conditions.

2. The influence of meteorological variables on flight activity of adult stoneflies (Plecoptera: Leuctridae, Nemouridae, and Chloroperlidae) was investigated using Malaise traps adjacent to three upland streams in the Plynlimon area of mid Wales, U.K.

3. Numbers of adult stoneflies captured weekly in the traps were related positively to air temperature and related negatively to wind speed. Meteorological conditions during daylight showed stronger relationships with flight activity than did conditions at night.

4. There was inter-site variation in the strength of weather effects on stonefly flight. Wind speed was significant at only one site, which had higher average wind speed than the other sites.

5. Annual variation in weather conditions during adult flight periods may result in varying extent of dispersal between sites, influencing community dynamics over a wide area.