Light-Colored Insects Adapt to Warming Climate Better than Dark-Colored Ones
Light-Colored Insects Adapt to Warming Climate Better than Dark-Colored OnesImperial College London

Lighter colored butterfly and dragonfly species are adapting to the warming climates better than dark colored species, according to a new study.

As the climate in European countries is experiencing drastic changes, light colored butterflies and dragonflies succeed in thriving over the dark-colored insects. The darker colored species have been spotted travelling to cooler regions.

The study was conducted collaboratively by researchers at University of Copenhagen and Imperial College London, Philipps-University Marburg.

The researchers in order to check the link between color and temperature studied 107 dragonfly species and 366 butterfly species across Europe. The study report showed clearly that light-colored insects dominated the north during cooler temperatures.

The species of dragonfly that have immigrated to Germany include the Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) and the Dainty Damselfy (Coenagrion Scitulum).

Again, butterfly species such as Southern Small White (Pieris Mannii) that are comfortable in warmer climates are seen for the first time in Germany in ten years. The species still continue to travel northwards.

The study finds that the color of the insect's body determines how much energy their body can absorb from the sun. The energy helps them in regulating body temperatures and provides the fuel to their flight.

While dark colored insects usually absorb more light and are found in cooler climatic areas, species on warmer climates need to protect themselves from being overheated. Insects spotted in hotter climates are those light colored ones as they have the ability to bounce back the sunlight in order to avoid overheating and remain active for longer durations.

"For two of the major groups of insects, we have now demonstrated a direct link between climate and insect color, which impact their geographical distribution. We now know that lighter-colored butterflies and dragonflies are doing better in a warmer world, and we have also demonstrated that the effects of climate change on where species live are not something of the future, but that nature and its ecosystems are changing as we speak." said Professor Carsten Rahbek, at Imperial College London, in a news release.

Although, earlier studies have showed how climatic change impacts the distribution of species, this study emphasizes on a direct relationship and confirms that changes in the climate affects the pattern of biodiversity.