The Times reported in December that trillions of insects fly across southern England each year in unseen migrations. Their collective weight is some 3,200 tonnes. The weight is more than seven times that of the 30m songbirds that fly between UK to Africa each autumn. Researchers from the University of Exeter have used radar for more than a decade to scan the sky for the insects that cross southern England at heights of more than 150m.
Jason Chapman, co-author of the study, published in the journal Science, said that the migration could represent:
“the most important annual animal movement in ecosystems on land. If the densities observed over southern UK are extrapolated to the airspace above all continental landmasses, high-altitude insect migration represents the most important annual animal movement in ecosystems on land – comparable to the most significant oceanic migrations”.