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A trans-oceanic flight of over 4,200 km by painted lady butterflies
by Tomasz Suchan, Clement P. Bataille, Megan S. Reich, Eric Toro-Delgado, Roger Vila, Naomi E. Pierce, and Gerard Talavera

Nature Communications    Translate This Article
2 July 2024

On 2 July 2024 Nature Communications reported: The extent of aerial flows of insects circulating around the planet and their impact on ecosystems and biogeography remain enigmatic because of methodological challenges. Here we report a transatlantic crossing by Vanessa cardui butterflies spanning at least 4,200 km, from West Africa to South America (French Guiana) and lasting between 5 and 8 days. Even more, we infer a likely natal origin for these individuals in Western Europe, and the journey Europe-Africa-South America could expand to 7,000 km or more. Global Good News service views this news as a sign of rising positivity in the field of science, documenting the growth of life-supporting, evolutionary trends.

...The overall journey, which was energetically feasible only if assisted by winds, is among the longest documented for individual insects, and potentially the first verified transatlantic crossing. Our findings suggest that we may be underestimating transoceanic dispersal in insects and highlight the importance of aerial highways connecting continents by trade winds.

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