Saturday March 12, 2016
Dragonflies are world travellers
A somewhat drab, fairly ordinary, quite ubiquitous dragonfly turns out to be one of the most well-travelled and interesting insects in the world.
Dr. Jessica Ware, a Canadian dragonfly specialist and biologist at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, encountered a generic yellow-brown dragonfly, called Pantala flavescens, no matter where she went. But when she and her colleagues did a genetic analysis of the insects, they found something shocking.
The analysis suggested that populations of the dragonfly, separated by continents and oceans, were interbreeding, which meant they were somehow migrating across vast distances around the world. Apart from one known migration - from Africa to India - the other migrations are entirely unknown - but must be happening.