If you have ever been to the Maldives, I am sure you are wondering why on earth we are publishing the image of an insect you have probably never seen here. Unless you happen to be in the Maldives at the perfect time you might never make the acquaintance of the Globe Skimmers.
Globe Skimmers are a globetrotting species of dragonflies, commonly encountered in the Maldives between October and December, but unlikely to be seen during other months. The Maldives are surrounded by the ocean and have no rivers and very limited fresh water basins. Dragonflies are insects that breed in fresh water. This does not seem like a good pairing of animal and environment…. So what are dragonflies doing here?
Globe Skimmers are long-distance travelers that migrate from India to East Africa in search of fresh water to breed in. India enters it’s dry season in October, whereas East Africa receives a lot of rain at this time. Those of you who have visited the Maldives will now object, ‘hold on, between October and December we are still in the South-Western Monsoon, that’s why there are so many mantas! The SW Monsoon blows towards India so how are these tiny insects flying thousands of kilometers against the wind?’.
Well Globe Skimmers are pretty smart, they fly thousands of kilometers up above the ground where the wind is actually pushing towards Africa. During the journey if they look down and happen to see how wonderful Maldives are they may come down to take a better look. They might sunbathe on the white beaches, rest on a coconut or ehm no wait, splash about in the marvelous puddles left by the sudden tropical storms!
They may be small, but no one can deny they are smart travelers, visiting the Maldives!
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Photo credit: Arian Suresh