Asked to name the insect with the longest migration, most people would probably say the monarch butterfly, citing its over-4,000-mile trip from Mexico to Canada. Most people would also be wrong.
In recent years, scientists have discovered that the tiny globe skimmer dragonfly (Pantala flavescens) steals the monarch's crown: These bold aviators travel over 11,000 miles during their annual migration.
Because dragonflies are too small to carry tracking devices, researchers had to go to different points in the bugs' journey--India, the Maldives, and East Africa--to see just how far they go. These dragonflies breed in temporary rainwater pools, following the seasonal weather in the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone between India and East Africa.
"It may seem remarkable that such a massive migration has gone unnoticed until now," says biologist Charles Anderson. "But this just illustrates how little we still know about the natural world."