Aerodynamic theory predicts that migrant fliers should reduce their speed of flight as endogenous energy reserves are gradually consumed. This prediction was tested for Urania fulgens (Walker) moths migrating through central Panama in 1987 and again in 1998. Direct airspeed measurements together with chloroform:methanol extractions of abdominal lipids were used to determine that, contrary to theoretical predictions, the speed of flight among individuals was independent of both body mass and abdominal lipid mass.
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Vol. 34 • No. 3