NEW YORK WEATHER

Marine biologist Charles Anderson saw swarms of globe skimmer dragonflies landing at the Maldives during autumn before they took off towards East Africa. Back in 2009, these observations led Anderson to an interesting proposal: the migratory globe skimmer dragonfly, which is only five centimetres long, flies seasonally from India to East Africa by crossing the Indian Ocean and then journeys back.

It is believed that the dragonflies ride on high-altitude seasonal winds to cross the ocean. Taking into account the dragonfly’s tiny body size, this voyage would be the world’s longest regular non-stop migration – surpassing the distance travelled by the famed Monarch butterflies in North America.

But this epic journey is only a small part of a giant annual migratory circuit. It is believed that over several generations, globe skimmers fly between India, East Africa and Central Asia covering more than 14,000 km. Scientists are only beginning to unravel the details of this circuit and how this tiny dragonfly makes it across the Indian Ocean.

“It is not ‘a migration’, it is a whole web of movements,” notes Anderson, who has studied the arrival of globe skimmers at the Maldives.

While the migration of Monarch butterflies is well studied, relatively little is known about the annual migratory…

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