It is possible to see insects that should yet be dormant this February
This winter is very warm in Kaliningrad, with the temperature reaching +8 C sometimes. One may even see mosquitos or butterflies at this time of the year. The Associate Professor from the Institute of Living Systems, Natalia Kudikina told us whether this unique phenomenon is dangerous or no.
During their lives, insects go through a number of stages, including the time when being dormant. This allows them to survive the low winter temperatures, most often at the pupal stage, after which development continues further until the appearance of the adult (imaginal) stage. This type of metamorphosis is called complete, it is widespread among insects, including butterflies and mosquitoes. During the life cycle of such animals, the beginning of the transition from one stage to another and the speed of this process is determined primarily by the temperature. In the event that the temperature is unstable, for example, low temperatures abnormally staying for a long time, the transition to adult stages is delayed. Conversely, abnormally high temperatures for a particular time of the year stimulate the processes of development and transition of dormant stages to imaginal ones.
Assoc. Prof. Natalia Kudikina said:
“This is exactly what happened here in the Kaliningrad region, when, due to the abnormally warm winter, adult moths came out of wintering pupae so early. The uniqueness of this phenomenon is directly related to the uniqueness of the observed climatic changes. Such a warm winter is rare even for our region. Many insects, butterflies, in particular, feed on flower nectar, and if some flowering plants appear at the same time, they will not die of hunger. The main danger is the cold, which can easily lead to the death of insects. Since most butterflies are pollinators of plants, and individual species make up the diet of other species, in this case, nature may lose some of the necessary components of biocenoses”
According to the expert, this abnormal warming may cause a severe reduction in mosquitos’ numbers. And this may lead to the lack of food for many types of fish, which in turn will cause another problems all the way to the food chain.