Insects account for the main fraction of Earth’s biodiversity and are key players for ecosystems, notably as pollinators. While insect migration is suspected to represent a natural phenomenon of major importance, remarkably little is known about it, except for a few flagship species. The reason for this situation is mainly due to technical limitations in the study of insect movement. Here we propose using metabarcoding of pollen carried by insects as a method for tracking their migrations. We developed a flexible and simple protocol allowing high multiplexing and not requiring DNA extraction, one of the most time consuming part of metabarcoding protocols, and apply this method to the study of the long-distance migration of the butterfly Vanessa cardui, an emerging model for insect migration
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