World’s most migratory insect: amazing 12,000-mile voyage

By | July 24, 2009

The Pantala flavescens species of dragonfly migrates further than any other insect They are the size of a tiny paper aeroplane. And faced with the underside of a shoe, or the maritime storms of the Indian Ocean, they are about as robust as one.

So the fact that this small, delicate species of dragonfly commutes an amazing 12,000 miles every year is no mean feat.

According to new research by British naturalist Charles Anderson, the Pantala flavescens species migrates farther than any other insect, even though it is barely 5cm long and boasts flimsy, 8cm wings.

What’s more, unlike most dragonflies, which have an extended larval stage – during which they may live underwater for up to a year – this extraordinary creature can metamorphose into an adult, and leave its watery home, in just six weeks.

Incredibly, these bold little insects migrate at an altitude of 1,000m, double the height of the world’s tallest building, the Taipei 101 tower, in the Taiwanese capital.

They also cleverly take advantage of the prevailing winds of the so-called Intertropical Convergence Zone.

With this annual odyssey under their wing, it is perhaps no surprise that they are also known as globe skimmers or wandering gliders.

They begin their epic journey every August, flying from southern India, via the Maldives and the Seychelles, to Mozambique on the east coast of Africa.

They complete their voyage in December – before flying back again. Not a bad summer holiday, if you can get it.

via Revealed: The dragonfly’s amazing 12,000-mile voyage | Mail Online.

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