(Mirror Daily, United States) – A group of experts from Britain, Israel, and China joined their efforts to conduct a comprehensive study about migrating insects. They discovered that more than three trillion insects fly over southern Britain every year.
If we compare this number to the Britain’s human population, then we have 54 insects for each person. The researchers have been tracking and monitoring the insects over the past ten years.
According to the team, the bugs fly at altitudes ranging from 492 to 3,937 feet. The scientists also used catching nets to collect smaller specimens. Jason Chapman, a co-author of the study and entomologist at the University of Exeter, says that the presence of these insects in the air can be compared with the presence of plankton in the oceans.
In other words, these bugs are vital for the balance of the world’s ecosystem. The researchers were not surprised by the sheer number of insects. However, what impressed them the most was that the behavior of those migrating insects was similar with the one of the birds.
More precisely, these bugs migrate north and south, while they also reach great speeds between eighteen and 37 miles per hours. In addition, they have a combined weight of roughly 3,200 tons, which is the equivalent of over 636 elephants.
The researchers underline that most of these insects are very small. As such, they have been ignored by many other scientists who focused on monarch butterflies and migratory birds. Chapman says that the marmalade hoverfly is the perfect example of a tiny and important bug.
The hoverfly is around one centimeter long, it is orange and it has black stripes on its body. Also, this insect is widely spread across the world and very important because it pollinates wildflowers and crops.
Chapman says that this study can be applied to many regions of the world because migrating insects are everywhere. He points out that warm and moist areas in southern California and the Amazon are home to over 3.5 trillion bugs every year. Chapman underlines that without these migrating insects, we wouldn’t survive.
Besides pollinating millions of species of plants, they represent the main source of food for bats, birds, and other animals. Therefore, the scientists will continue their research to find out more about the migrating insects.