Strength in numbers: migrations of the tiny

Guest post by The Military Mutual

A colony of ants; a herd of cows; a shoal of fish. In the natural world animals group together for companionship, to feed, reproduce and ultimately to ensure the survival of their kind. In doing so they can travel in tremendous groups, and over vast distances when they migrate.

Despite their size, some of the smallest creatures on our planet complete these vast migrations. And there are some interesting ones which we’ve been alerted to thanks to this resource by The Military Mutual.

Red Crabs

The Christmas Island Red Crabs complete an annual land migration to lay their eggs in the sea. While they may only be 20cm claw to claw, between October and November each year approximately 60 million of them make the trip to the shore. While the journey is is only around six miles, the mass migration is a visual spectacle for the 1,500 human residents of the island – closing roads and creating a sea of red nomads in places they aren’t normally.

Red Crab

Image Credit: Frogtrail images – Flickr

Silver Y Moth

With a wingspan of 3-4.5cm, the Silver Y Moth is small but its migratory presence, huge. When it migrates and arrives in the UK it can come in a population size of 250 million, and although they aren’t the same generation, there are nearly four times as many which leave.

Silver Y moth

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Painted Lady Butterflies

This tiny creature weighs less than a gram and yet it completes a 9,000 mile round trip from the tropics of Africa to the Arctic Circle (although it takes up to six generation). It has been recorded that 11 million painted lady butterflies entered the UK one spring.

Painted lady

Image Credit: Philip McErlean – Flickr

You can learn about more creatures (small and large) on the Strength in Numbers resource.



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