Insect invasion in Central Russia

Insect invasion in Central Russia
Insect invasion in Central Russia

A surprising consequence of the prolonged heat wave in Central Russia: Moscow is experiencing a real invasion of praying mantises this summer. Is this an exception or a new reality? What other insects have moved north after the praying mantises? And is this migration worth fearing?

- Gentlemen, I do not know how this is possible, I am very afraid of them, but this is a praying mantis on the balcony. Hello! Very unexpected.

The praying mantis is a rare guest for Central Russia. However, in recent years, these insects have been increasingly found in more northern regions. Back in 2008, their mass appearance was recorded in Oryol, Lipetsk, Tula and even in the south of Moscow regions. And this hot summer there was such an impression that the praying mantises have completely settled in the middle lane.

- He's so gigantic! He is big. We found a praying mantis in Moscow. In Moscow! Can you imagine ?!

Praying mantises strolled through the capital's parks, flew to the balconies of Muscovites. Scientists believe that the migration of predatory insects is associated with a warming climate. Moreover, the main factor is not even a hot summer, but the absence of prolonged severe frosts in winter, which are destructive for mantis eggs.

"Somewhere in the Crimea, there is also cold there, they are there. There definitely are. And they are near Sochi. And you cannot say that there is neither snow nor cold there. So maybe they And they reached us. Because, say, the spiders, such striped ones, Argiope Brunnikha, they definitely existed before, they reached Krasnodar. And now, for sure, I have met such spiders more than once in my village, "says a researcher of the department entomology, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, candidate of biological sciences Vladimir Kartsev.

Southern insect species actively respond to climatic changes. With the help of receptors on the body, they sense any fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Comfortable weather conditions are a powerful signal to start migration.

"This is a reaction to changes in the climatic order. I now live on the Oka, not far from Serpukhov, sometimes you can meet a praying mantis here. They move to where it is warmer. This is a normal phenomenon. This phenomenon applies not only to praying mantises, but also to many other insects," says entomologist, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor of the Moscow State University of Forestry Sergei Izhevsky.

Some entomologists suggest that praying mantises have already become indigenous to the Moscow region. That is, it is here that they hatch from their eggs in the spring. In the suburbs, they began to find clutches with mantis eggs - the so-called ooteca. In them, insects are able to overwinter. Biodiversity is also growing: now there are 12 species of praying mantises in Russia, although in 2015 there were nine.

Simultaneously with the common praying mantis, other species migrate to the north. For example, a large spider is the South Russian tarantula. The already mentioned argiope Brunnich or wasp spider. There are several species of locusts among migrants.

And if the spread of locusts is a real threat to agriculture, then the migration of praying mantises to the north does not pose any danger. Rather, the opposite is true: the praying mantis is a predator and preys on other insects, many of which are pests. Apparently, in the coming years, Muscovites will hardly be surprised to see these large green insects.