Use of Radio Telemetry for Studying FlightMovements of Paysandisia archon (Lepidoptera: Castniidae).

Liégeois, M; Tixier, P; Beaudoin-Ollivier, L

J Insect Behav (2016) 29:199– 213


The moth Paysandisia archon is an invasive species that infests palm trees in the Mediterranean Basin. The immature stages occur exclusively inside the palm crown, whereas adults fly to mate and locate a new host plant. Here, we describe the use of small radio transmitters (0.27 g) for tracing the movements of P. archon adults. We report the first successful use of radio telemetry to track flight distances and space use of a flying moth. Our study was carried out using 11 tagged moths released on the Maguelone Peninsula in southern France. Although the males were successfully tracked within a restricted area, estimated at 4 ha, most of the tagged females immediately flew distances over 500 m, disappearing beyond the maximum detection range of the 30 ha study area. Flights for mating, resting and, likely, oviposition covered distances of 11.6 m to 224 m in males and 16.8 m to >500 m in females. We found evidence that both sexes are active during the warmer temperatures of the day. In contrast, the moths were inactive when the relative humidity was high. Moreover, the P. archon moths do not seem to reside on the host palm trees. Our data show a high mobility of females, which may be responsible for the spread of the first recorded Castniidae in France by laying eggs far from the palm trees where they emerged.

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