Declining Migrant Hoverflies


During spring, the UK sees a warm arrival of migrating insects from the mainland of Europe. Among these insects, two species of Hoverflies are beneficial for the UK’s agriculture. In spite of their migration, they come with ecological benefits to Britain. These are not only pest-eating but flower-pollinating flies that are of great importance to the ecosystem of the United Kingdom. The migrant hoverflies are performing the role of pollinator in the UK.

UK Pollinator Declining But Not Migrant Hoverflies
UK Pollinator Declining But Not Migrant Hoverflies

Migrant Hoverflies Performing The Role Of Pollinator In The UK

A study published on June 13th in Current Biology, these migrating insects eat about 10 trillion of aphids (crop-eating) during their stay. Besides saving crops from aphids, these Hoverflies also pollinate crops and wildflowers during their stay. In another published research, researchers claimed that there had, been stability in the migration of hoverflies over the last ten years. Their arrival rate is not at all declining, amidst UK pollinator declines.

Following the research, Helen Roy stated that many have often misunderstood UK pollinators as their prime source for crop and wildflower pollination. However, those were Hoverflies who have been helping UK pollinators in their work. Helen Roy is an entomologist working Center for Ecology, UK.

Filled Up The Work Of Declining UK Pollinators

The decline of UK pollinators is, a well-documented fact presented by the ecologist Jason Chapman working at University Exeter. This data actually helped them understood the fact of how beneficial these migrant Hoverflies are for better functioning of the UK’s ecosystem.

UK Pollinator Declining But Not Migrant Hoverflies
UK Pollinator Declining But Not Migrant Hoverflies

Jason Chapman, with his colleagues from Europe and China, used VLR (Vertical Radar) Data to study the degree of migration. VLR is, a vertical radar used to study insect migration. VLR works by emitting radar beams (upward-facing) designed according to the standard of insect detection. It can only predict the insects if they are flying at altitudes between 150 to 1200 meters above the ground.

As per the data shared by the VLR (Vertical Radar), Jason, with his team, segregated species of their interest based on parameters like shape, body mass, and flying speed. Upon the completion of research, he found out that there has been a giant migration of Marmalade Fly and Eupeodes Corollae. These are the two species of Hoverflies that eat aphids at the larval stage and pollinate crops when they are adults.

The Annual Migration Rate Of Migrant Hoverflies Amidst UK Pollinator Declines

The migration ranges between 1 billion to 4 billion migrant Hoverflies flying throughout southern Britain on a yearly basis. The migration range is, said to be, 70 percent higher than the migration rate of Lady Butterflies.
According to consistent reports published throughout the year, migrant Hoverflies reach Britain in May. Till August, they breed several generations and start returning to Europe in August-September. Jason and his team further stated that there might be a slight variation in their migration patterns throughout the decade, but overall their population has been stable. This statement, put forward, backing their research and yearly reports presented by a British Citizen Science Project.

It states that no matter UK pollinators are declining, but migrant Hoverflies are doing well. Therefore, the decline of UK pollinator is not worrisome, but it should not be declining at that pace.

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