Island Secrets: The Arrival of the Dragonflies

Over the last weeks, the SCIE:NCE team at Soneva Fushi has been eagerly looking out of the windows from our office at Out Of The Blue. We see birds flying over, dolphin pods swimming by, but we are impatiently waiting for that one spectacular sighting… We are waiting for dragonflies.

You might wonder why we are so excited to see dragonflies. Well, we only have the opportunity to see these special visitors for about two weeks per year when they visit the Maldives in October! There is a very special story behind that.

Every year thousands of Globe skimmer dragonflies (Pantala flavescens) embark on a remarkable journey; a trans-oceanic crossing from India to East Africa. This migratory circuit covers up to 18.000 km, an immense distance, especially for such small creatures. They need 3-4 generations to fulfil this journey and it is not just the distance, the Indian Ocean is a big body of water to cover. Yet, the Globe Skimmer dragonfly is able to make the crossing. During the immense migration, these little creatures make a short stop at the Maldives. Going from India to East Africa, the first sightings are often in the North of the Maldives, but the islands in the South quickly follow within a few days.

Captured by Tom Knols, SCIE:NCE Intern at Soneva Fushi

Tuesday, October 26 2021, was the day that the dragonflies were first spotted on Kunfunadhoo, the island that is home to Soneva Fushi. Look up and you will see them buzzing around Fresh In the Garden and Eco-Centro, helping us get rid of the mosquitoes. With the arrival of the dragonflies, we can also welcome other guests, such as the Amur Falcon, a beautiful bird that follows the migration of the dragonflies since it feeds on them.

This is a moment to be in awe of the nature on our island. For an insect that is just 5 cm long to cross the open ocean for such a distance seems almost impossible, but there they are, making the journey anyway. Next time you see them, take a minute to take it all in, feel amazed about their spectacular journey and enjoy their company since it won’t last for long!

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