“The Global Skimmer holds two world insect records and remains a mystery”

In 2006 IUCN Red Listed The Global Skimmers. Thes dragonflies are  the long-distances high fliers of the insect world can fly up to 6300m high, the highest of any dragonfly species. With a tailwind of 10m per second, a dragonfly could cross from southern India to Male in 24 hours. Maldivians consider the dragonflies’ arrival to be a harbinger of the nor-easterly monsoon season.

Global skimmers dragonfly

Global skimmers dragonfly

The annual migration of millions of Pantal.flavescens, The Global Skimmers, are dragonflies that hold the world distance record for length of migration of insects. This small flying star travels from southern India to Maldive Islands a distance of 500 to across the sea from southern India to Africa. It is also the only insect that travels that far across open seas.
What makes this journey even more remarkable is the fact that these insects need fresh water to live and reproduce and their travel route affords them no place to rest where fresh water is available. This shows how little is known about this habits of this insect.

Each year, millions of dragonflies arrive on the Maldive Islands from October to December, an event which is well known to people living there. In October and continuing to December, a weather system called the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone moves southwards over the Maldives. Before the ITCZ the wind blows towards India, but above and behind it the winds blow from India. So it seems that the dragonflies are able to reach Maldives by surfing on these winds at altitude above 1000m.

Excerpts courtesy of news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8149000/8149714.stm

Image courtesy of wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/56/Pantala_flavescens_001_std.jpg

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