Scientists Study Dragonflies Using An Unusual Tool

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A team of researchers studied the migration patterns of dragonflies with the help of an unusual tool. Researchers from the University of Guelph observed the migration of butterflies and green darner dragonflies as they traveled from southern Ontario towards the northern areas of the United States. The feat was completed by equipping select insects with a miniature fanny pack which contained a radio transmitter.

One of the researchers who participated in the study mentioned that the results were quite surprising. The insects were captured from Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula during the falls of 2015 and 2016. After the insects were captured, the researchers used sensitive instruments to attach miniature radio transmitters on the underside area of the insects. The radio transmitters are on par with a small raindrop, and they look like fanny packs when they are viewed from a certain angle.

The radio beacons released constant radio signals which could be traced with the help of towers which were present along the migration route used by the insects. The signals provided a valuable amount of data, including the speed at which the insect traveled and the distance.

Researchers study dragonflies with the help of an unusual tool

While the breeding habits and areas inhabited during the winter were observed in the past, the new study focused on the migration patterns, which remained quite mysterious until now. Previous research inferred that several factors, including habitat loss, land repurposing, and global warming, are quite harmful as up to 40% of insect species will face extinction.

When the first data was received, the researchers were fascinated. The insects traveled at an impressive speed as monarchs flew at approximately 12km/h and darners reached 16km/h. One of the darners was able to reach 17km/h and traversed 122 kilometers in a single day.

It is likely that the insects could fly even faster since the fanny packs are heavy. The new information will be useful for future studies. The study was published in a scientific journal.

Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.