Life as We Know It
Pollinating crickets, the longest migration, puffed up toads and more...
- By T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Abigail Tucker and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, March 2010
Arctic tern and their routes; green for autumn, red for winter, yellow for spring (Paul Souders / Corbis)
Scientists have proven that the Arctic tern makes the longest annual migration of any animal in the world. Researchers attached miniature geolocators to terns nesting in Greenland and Iceland and found that the four-ounce birds traveled nearly pole to pole, averaging 44,000 miles in ten months. For a bird that can live 30 years or more, that means 1.5 million miles in a lifetime, the equivalent of three trips to the moon and back.
“Tracking of Arctic terns Sterna paradisaea reveals longest animal migration,” Carsten Egevang et al., PNAS, January 11, 2010.
“Unidirectional Airflow in the Lungs of Alligators,” C. G. Farmer and Kent Sanders, Science, January 15, 2010.
“Orthoptera, a new order of pollinator,” Claire Micheneau et al., Annals of Botany, January 11, 2010.
“Turgid female toads give males the slip: a new mechanism of female mate choice in the Anura,” Bas Bruning et al., Biology Letters, January 6, 2010.