- Researchers have found an interesting pattern of migration among airborne insects.
- The population of insects has a vital impact on the ecosystem.
Science channels have well documented the great migration of the wildebeest and other four-legged animals, but one is yet to see trillions of tiny airborne insects migrating to different parts of the world.
This was found in the recent study published in Science, which was authored by several researchers from various universities. The study found a stunning pattern among flying insects migrating north or south. The researchers published the findings after analyzing decades worth of radar data.
New Radar System
The scientists have begun tracking the airborne insects using a mobile radar since the 1970s. Their research has been brought to a higher level when they started to utilize a permanent upward-facing radar system.
The new radar system the scientists have been using can sort insects based on size. The radar system is currently based at the Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, U.K.
Just like larger animals, smaller and airborne insects migrate due to different reasons. For one, the scientists found that changing weather is the primary reasons for these insects to travel hundreds of thousands of kilometers to the other side of the world.
Insects and Ecosystem
It was revealed that larger flying insects take advantage of the favorable winds when they migrate. This is true for insects living in the northern Europe during the summer and in the Mediterranean during the winter.
They may be tiny to some, but researchers conclude that insects play a crucial rule in keeping the ecosystem in balance. Insects, whether airborne or at the sea, have an impact on the population of much larger animals that prey on them.
“They (researchers) found that more than a trillion insects move across this region annually. The movement of such a large biomass has considerable impacts on the ecosystems between which the insects migrate,” an excerpt of the study reads.