Researchers are trying to understand how insects migrate and how they can spread the diseases they transmit.

The thistle butterfly, one of the most common species of butterflies in Europe, can cover from 12 to 14,000 km between Africa and Europe in favorable climatic conditions. This is the longest migration path discovered by an insect, according to an international research team.

Thistle moth (Vanessa Cardoy) ​​is able to make this huge flight in droves when the rainy weather in the desert is favorable for the development of vegetation on which the females lay their eggs.

Finding the authors of a study conducted by the University of Reading in the UK will help them understand how insects – pollinators and pests – migrate and spread the diseases they transmit in the future as climate change alters the characteristics of the seasons, according to EurekAl.

We know that thistle mites happen back and forth in Europe, and there are times when there are a hundred times more than there was in the previous year. However, we did not know what the conditions were, and no one had proven his ability to cross the desert and oceans to reach Europe.

Said Tom Oliver is a university professor.

He also added, their research showed that this flight is possible and that certain weather conditions have a significant impact on this migration.

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The researchers used long-term monitoring data from hundreds of trained volunteers, as well as atmospheric and climate data from sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, to learn about the butterfly migration.

The researchers’ simulations showed that regular tailwinds between Africa and Western Europe provide good opportunities for transcontinental travel.

It has been calculated that butterflies fly without landing during the day and rest only at night when crossing the desert, feeding on nectar while they stop. This is similar to the migration of songbirds.

They concluded that butterflies would have to fly one to three kilometers above sea level to take advantage of the tailwind, since it would be very difficult to fly through the desert at six meters per second.

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