What is migration????
Animal migration is the relatively long-distance
movement of individuals, usually on a seasonal basis.
Found in all major animal groups.
The trigger for the migration may be local climate,
local availability of food, the season of the year or for
Type of animal migration:
There are many animal migration: sea turtles, baleen
whale, dragonflies, wildebeest, birds, monarch butterflies,
caribou, salmon, zooplankton, bats, sharks, tuna,
Sea turtlesThese charismatic ocean
wanderers make incredible
migrations in the open sea.
Some leatherback turtles have
been recorded traveling across
the Pacific Ocean between
Indonesia and the U.S., an
incredible distance of more
than 12,000 miles in 647 days.
One of their most impressive
feats is the ability to navigate
back the beach where they were
born to spawn.
Baleen whaleWhile many of the world's species of marine mammals migrate,
none go the distance like giant baleen whales.
The gray whale (which travels as far as 14,000 miles round trip
annually) and the humpback whale (which travels as far as 16,000
miles round trip annually) migrate a greater distance than any other
mammal on Earth.
Each species travels to warmer tropical waters during the winter
months to mate and give birth. Then they swim to the rich colder
waters of the Arctic or Antarctic to feed for the summer.
Dragonflies are capable of long-distance migrations, but until
recently, scientists had no idea how far they traveled. In
2009, scientists discovere d a 14,000- to 18,000-kilometer dragonfly
migration route that spanned from India to the Maldives, the
Seychelles, Mozambique, Uganda and back again.
Incredibly, the epic migration spans four generations of dragonflies,
with each generation playing its part in the journey much like a relay
race. It is easily the longest insect migration ever discovered. The
dragonflies appear to follow the rains, from the monsoon season in
India to the rainy season in eastern and southern Africa.
Perhaps the most famous animal migration is the journey of
Africa's wildebeest herds, which travel annually by the millions in
search of greener pastures.
The wildebeest do not travel alone. As many as 200,000 zebra and
500,000 gazelles also make the journey, followed by some of the
savanna's top predators. The migration is one of nature's grandest
spectacles, as the herds cross crocodile-infested rivers while lions
prowl in the tall grass nearby.
Africa's vast savanna could not exist without the migration, and
maintaining these habitat corridors is essential to the survival of
this area and its creatures.
About 1,800 of the world's bird species are migratory. Some of these
journeys are among the longest in the world.
The tiny Arctic tern (pictured here) undertakes nature's longest
migration, spanning as many as 44,000 miles annually as it zigzags
the distance between the Arctic and Antarctic. (Sooty shearwaters
deserve an honorable mention for making a similar journey.)
Seabirds like the albatross spend more of their lives flying than they
do at rest, and bar-tailed godwits undertake the longest non-stop
flight of any bird, between New Zealand and China.
Penguins also migrate, and they deserve credit for making their
incredible journey through the ocean, rather than through the air.
The annual monarch butterfly migration might be the most colorful
migration in the natural world.
Outdistanced only by dragonflies among insects, the monarch
migration spans 7,000 kilometers (about about 4,349
miles) includes three to four generations, and occasionally crosses
the Atlantic Ocean. It is a spectacular thing to witness.
Populations of the monarchs can be found in Australia and New
Zealand, where they are referred to as wanderer butterflies.
CaribouNorth America's caribou populations migrate the furthest of any
terrestrial mammal, a journey that can span more than 3,000 miles
Herds of the migrating animals can grow to impressive numbers —
as many as half a million individuals — rivaled only by Africa's great
wildebeest migrations. During the winter, caribou travel to forested
areas for easier foraging, and they migrate in the summer to superior
SalmonOne of nature's most impressive migratory animals is the salmon.
They are impressive for their ability to traverse both seawater and
freshwater during their journey.
Salmon are capable of traveling hundreds of miles inland via rivers
and waterways, and will even ascend thousands of feet up mountain
streams to return to the waters where they were born.
Zooplankton are the countless numbers of organisms that float in
the water column of the world's oceans and seas and includes
organisms as diverse as jellyfish, krill and juvenile fish.
Their migration is different because it moves up and down through
the ocean's depths rather than traversing a landscape (although they
can do this, too!). Known as vertical migration, the movement of
zooplankton rivals the seasonal migration of more famous
migratory species such as caribou or Arctic tern.
Despite their tiny size, some zooplankton swarms swim a vertical
distance of 3,000 feet nearly every day in the continual search for
Although only a few bat species are migratory, the ones that travel
seasonally do so in spectacular fashion.
In fact, the world's largest mammal migration is the annual journey
of Zambia's straw-colored fruit bats. An astounding 8 million bats
blanket the air during the migration, as they travel to feed on their
favorite delicacy, the musuku fruit.
Many shark species travel thousands of miles through open
water every year, scouring the ocean for food.
The great white shark is a long-distance traveler, with some making
the journey across the Indian Ocean, between South Africa and
Australia and back again, over the course of a year.
The larger, gentler whale shark is another known migrant, though
its migratory patterns are not well-understood.
Tuna are among the ocean's fastest swimming migratory fish. At
least one tuna has been recorded making a 25,000-mile
journey (three Pacific Ocean crossings over the period of just 20
months) between the U.S. and Japan.
The amazing migration was recorded by the 10-year Census of
Marine Life, an undertaking that includes experts from 73 countries.
PinnipedsPinnipeds such a seals, sea lions and walruses also are known for
making incredible sea journeys.
Fur seals are known to swim the equivalent of a fourth of the way
around the world every year. Elephant seals have been recorded
making a 20,000-kilometer migration every year, and they also dive
deeper than any other seal. Walruses have a migratory route through
icy Arctic waters, a journey that has been a mystery to scientists