Podcast: Play in new window
BOB HIRSHON (host):
Tiny insects, vast oceans. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
The delicate wings of dragonflies belie their propensity to fly great distances, buoyed by the wind. A new genetic study in PLOS ONE suggests that one species, Pantala flavescens – or the the globe skimmer – migrates such vast distances to breed that populations from Canada, India, Japan and beyond are all part of one big closely related family.
JESSICA WARE (Rutgers University):
Our results seem to be suggesting that they probably are crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, vast expanses of open salt water, and that’s remarkable.
Rutgers University evolutionary biologist Jessica Ware says such a feat is challenging enough for much hardier birds and whales, and almost certainly leaves the reigning insect migratory champions, Monarch butterflies, in the dust.
When you see one, it’s exciting to think where it may have been.
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.
Story by Susanne Bard