Long Distance Records

2016 August 2016 Nature Terry Sovil

By Terry Sovil from the August 2016 Edition

Who could ever imagine a butterfly that flies 2,500 to 3,000 miles / 4,000 to 4,800 km? Well there is one. The MONARCH BUTTERFLY migrates from the central United States and Canada to Mexico. This is quite a long trip when you consider that it flies about 6 feet / 1.8 m per second.

Do mammals migrate? Well, yes, they do. We tend to call them snowbirds. They spend the summers in their native area and then when it starts to turn cold they migrate south.

But the longest migration for a mammal is the HUMPBACK WHALE. Their migration can run the Antarctic Peninsula to Columbia. This is a distance of 5,313 miles / 8,500km. The record holder is a lone female humpback that traveled 6,125 miles / 9,800km from breeding grounds in Brazil to Madagascar.

Everyone know that birds migrate. If you have them leaving your area for the winter you see them grouping up and then they fly away. Some, like geese, in formation.

The Arctic Tern, which may fly 44,000 miles / 70,400km per year for birds nesting in Iceland and Greenland, and 56,000 miles 90,000km for birds nesting in the Netherlands. Scientists think they make a few stops along the way. These are by far the longest migrations known in the animal kingdom.

Finally,  the majestic reptile winner for migration  is LEATHER-BACK turtle. They travel 10,000 miles / 16,000km or more each year as they swim across the entire Pacific Ocean from Asia to the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California in search of jellyfish.

One rugged turtle traveled 12,774 miles / 20,483km across the Pacific from Papua, Indonesia, to the coast of Oregon and part-way back. The tracking device gave up before the turtle did.

The fact that they eat jellyfish makes this 1,000 pound / 454km makes this guy susceptible to our plastic waste.

A floating bag from your favorite convenience store floating in the sea is the ocean’s most deadly predator. To eat their jellyfish, they have a mouth that would probably surprise you.

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