A massive migration has been counted by scientists, and the total number is truly staggering.
An incredible volume of insects migrates everyyear over south-central England, and scientists have recently taken to counting exactly how many of these bugs are flying overhead. They’ve come to the conclusion that about 3.5 trillion insects weighing a total of 3,200 tons migrate each year based on analysis of specialized radar and an aerial netting system suspended by balloon.
The scientists tracked the insect migration at altitudes of between 492 feet and upwards of 3,937 feet over a period of 10 years, although they think even more migrating insects could be found elsewhere in the world, according to a statement from the University of Exeter.
Tracking insects is more than just for curiosity’s sake. Insects are responsible for pollinating plants and helping the nutrient levels of soil through decomposing, so these migrations have a big impact on our own lives.
Dr Jason Chapman, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, said: “Insect bodies are rich in nutrients and the importance of these movements is underappreciated.
“If the densities observed over southern UK are extrapolated to the airspace above all continental landmasses, high-altitude insect migration represents the most important annual animal movement in ecosystems on land, comparable to the most significant oceanic migrations.”