Dynamics and foraging behaviour of adult hornet robberflies, Asilus crabroniformis: implications for conservation strategy
Holloway, G. J., Dickson, J.D., Harris, P.W. and Smith, J. (2003) Dynamics and foraging behaviour of adult hornet robberflies, Asilus crabroniformis: implications for conservation strategy. Journal of Insect Conservation, 7 (3). pp. 127-135. ISSN 1366-638X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1023/A:1027307619376
Mark resighting studies of the hornet robberfly, Asilus crabroniformis, were carried out during the flight seasons of 1999 and 2000 on agricultural land on the Chilterns in Oxfordshire, UK. Six patches of land were identified which contained characteristics thought to be attractive to hornet robberflies. One hundred and twenty eight adults were marked in 1999 and 257 in 2000. Marking was carried out on one of the patches, but resighting observations were collected from all six sites. The daily population sizes were estimated using the Jolly-Seber method. The daily population size peaked between 50 and 72 from 23 August until 13 September in 2000. This was very similar to the peak population size of between 50 and 74 estimated for 1999. Adults were found to be capable of living for nearly 5 weeks. The maximum linear distance from the point of marking that any individual moved across the study site was 625 m, but some individuals moved over 400 m in a single day. Unsuitable habitat (suburban gardens and a main road) did not present a barrier to dispersal. Males were more likely than females to loiter in sites peripheral to the breeding site, whilst females seemed to be more tied to the breeding site. Most adults were caught from dung piles, but insects avoided fresh dung and preferred instead dung that was well into the process of drying out. A variety of insect species were taken as prey, including many beetles and flies. The findings of the study are discussed in relation to the management of the landscape to enhance the long-term prospects of the hornet robberfly in the UK, and to achieve the UK Biodiversity Action Plan target for this species.