Insects Also Migrate

Posted: Jan 21 2017, 4:46am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Insects Also Migrate
Global climactic changes mean that the climate around the world is getting warmer, and accordingly it can be assumed with a large degree of certainty that the number of insects will increase significantly. Credit: Getty Images
  • Migration is not Just Seen in Birds but in Several Species of Insects as Well
 

The phenomenon of migration is not just seen in birds but in several species of insects as well.

While avians do migrate in the winter months, did you know that the same thing occurs in insects. A novel study published in a journal found that flying insects tend to react to various seasonal changes by shifting their provenance.

It is in fact a very large migration scenario. The number of insects outweighs birds by nearly eightfold times. These consist of 3.5 trillion insects. 

The effects on the ecology go very deep. Insects are hardy creatures yet even they are prone to being highly sensitive to weather changes. The dramatic transformations that occur in their populations as a result of weather phenomena were observed by the researchers who carried out the study.

It is strange that insects constitute the most voluminous species of living beings on the planet yet no study into their migration patterns had been conducted up until now. While this peregrination pattern had been suspected in insects, its scope had remained an enigma till now.  

The research work actually began a decade and a half ago with the setting up of radars in the south of England. The information from these instruments showed the flow of insects over a large area.

The weight of the insects along with their direction, height above ground level and velocity were noted down with scrupulous effort. The insects tend to move in a southwards direction. The insects constituted 3200 tons as far as their weight was concerned.

They traveled several hundred kilometers and ended up in a place entirely different from the one from which they had started. The sea also comes in between this mass migration. 

Many of the insects come to Britain during the spring and head for continental Europe for the fall season. A large sample of these insects also use the wind as a carrying mechanism to glide all the way to their destination.

Southern winds and northern winds were used to hitch a ride during the spring and fall seasons respectively. The insects had a sense of direction and even utilized migratory instincts to hone in on their destination.

Those insects which died on the way either became fodder for birds, bats and other animals or entered the soil as fertilizing agents. The nitrogen and phosphorus cycles of the earth ultimately depended on these insects.

The biomass of these insects was a significant one in the scheme of things on the planet. They will probably outlive human beings and all the other species on the earth since they are a tenacious lot. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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