Flight potential, a poorly understood phenomenon in the migratory true armyworm, Pseudaletia unipuncta (Haworth), was investigated in a laboratory population using tethered-flight techniques. True armyworm exhibited strong flight potential relative to other known migratory noctuids whose flight potentials were previously determined by similar techniques. Flight potential was generally low for 1-d-old moths and increased with age to day 5 of adult life. Flight speed and distance flown decreased for female moths from day 5 to day 10 as their reproductive system developed. The greatest average flight speed, total flight duration, and distance flown was exhibited by 5-d-old females and 10-d-old males, suggesting that flight potential may differ by sex. Ten-day-old moths had the longest flight duration. Factor analysis showed that total flight distance, total flight duration, and average flight speed are strongly correlated to the factor variable, but the correlation for longest flight duration was weaker. The significance of these findings to migratory flight and reproductive behavior of P. unipuncta is discussed in the light of published findings.
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