The holiday season is a time when lots of people take to the air, flying to see relatives or go on vacation. But when it comes to seasonal travel, humans are totally outnumbered by insects.
That's according to a newly published study in the journal Science, which found that more than three trillion migrating insects fly over south-central England each year.
"If you were to repeat this study almost anywhere else, I guarantee that you would exceed those numbers," says Jason Chapman, an entomologist at the University of Exeter, who notes that England is relatively cold and damp.
Except for standouts such as the Monarch butterfly, migrating insects have mostly been ignored by scientists who study migration, who tend to focus on charismatic birds like the Arctic tern and mammals such as the wildebeests of the Serengeti.
"The insects have really not been studied in the way that they should have been," Chapman says. He points out that migrating insects can cause huge problems or bring real benefits.