And The Winner For Longest Distance Flyer Goes To…


The dragonfly! (Specifically Pantala flavescens) This amazing insect flies thousands of miles across oceans, and from continent to continent, to find a mate; and the proof of this amazing flying ability is in the genes! Populations of the dragonfly in Texas, Canada, India, Korea, and South America are so similar to each other that scientists believe the only explanation is that they are able to travel the long distances separating these regions of the world in order to mate. And these dragonflies are well equipped to be able to go the distance. Their wings are specially adapted to have increased surface area which allows them to “ride” the wind without needing to flap for long distances. Even with this adaptation, the scientists believe many of the dragonflies never reach their destination, and some may stop mid-journey, if they find an island with fresh water, and continue on later. This is the first time researchers have used genetics to show how far insects have traveled, and although they have not been able to map the dragonflies’s specific routes or travel patterns yet, they are hoping to soon. Talk about globe-trotting!

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March 4, 2016

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