Science Questions

Sat, 22nd Oct 2005

Part of the show Social Insects, Biting Bugs and a Potted History of Honey

Question

Bhargav in Kettering asked:

What is the most powerful insect, and can fly the furthest?

Answer

In a single stretch, I probably think it's the dragonfly. These animals spend most of their life on the wing and they just come down to settle to look to see where the prey is. They can fly for quite long periods. There are many insects that have been found several hundred miles off of the coast, so lots of things can fly for long distances if they get caught by the wind. I think the insect that can fly the furthest under its own steam is probably the little biting black flies, which you get in West Africa. They can do 300 kilometres while looking for prey. The most famous migrating insect is the monarch butterfly, which flies across North America to special roosting sites in Mexico. That's a very famous, powerfully flying migrating butterfly.

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