Dragonfly’s Migration Is No Mystery For Scientists Anymore

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While thanks to images and videos of monarch butterflies across all North America researchers learned more about these insects’ migration, scientists do not know much about the migration process of other bugs. However, in a new paper published in Biology Letters, scientists unlocked the puzzle surrounding a dragonfly’s migration.

We’re talking about the common green darner, a widespread dragonfly across North America, and which completes its annual cycle in three generations. During spring, one generation is usually migrating north, while the second one is moving south in the autumn. The third generation, however, is living in the southern territories of the continent during winter.

“We know that a lot of insects migrate, but we have the full life history and full migration data for only a couple. This is the first dragonfly in the Western Hemisphere for which we know this. We’ve solved the first piece of a big mystery,” explained Colin Studds from the University of Maryland, and the leading author of the study.

Dragonfly’s Migration Is No Mystery For Scientists Anymore

The so-called “common green darner” is indeed a widespread species of dragonflies and is not currently endangered by climate change. Following their behavior is of great significance in the actual global context. “There are massive insect declines going on around the world, so understanding these complex biological patterns is essential to determine why different populations might be declining,” added Peter Marra from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

“With climate change, we could see dragonflies migrating north earlier and staying later in the fall, which could alter their entire biology and life history,” said Michael Hallworth from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. In this regard, Colin Studds added that “climate change is a threat to all kinds of migration systems, and this could be one of them.”

“How it actually happens is a tremendous new mystery that brings together ecology and evolution, and there’s a lot more to understand,” Studds added, referring to the dragonfly’s migration during three generations of the common green darners.


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