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|Views: (2069) Date: (29-12-09) Time: (00:19:10)|
While living and working as a marine biologist in Maldives, Charles Anderson noticed sudden explosions of dragonflies at certain times of year. He explains how he carefully tracked the path of a plain, little dragonfly called the globe skimmer, only to discover that it had the longest migratory journey of any insect in the world.
Charles Anderson studies marine life in the Maldives, a nation of coral atolls in the Indian ocean.
Why you should listen to him:
Since 1983, Charles Anderson has lived and worked in the Maldives, a group of more than 1,000 coral islands that is the world's lowest-lying country. Marine life here is rich and fascinating, and Anderson has been instrumental in identifying it and promoting its preservation. This year, the Maldives became the first nation to ban shark fishing, after recognizing that the decline in live sharks was impacting the lucrative tourist trade.
Anderson has discovered several new species of fish, and was awarded the President of Maldives Award for Service to Fisheries in 1995, the only non-Maldivian ever to receive this honor. He and his wife, Susan, run several whale-watching trips each year where tourists take part in a national survey of cetaceans (whales and dolphins). recently, Anderson has identified the world's longest insect migration: the 18,000 km flight of tiny Pantala flavescens dragonflies back and forth across the Indian Ocean. He has found that the migration begins in India and proceeds via the Maldives (a mystifying stopover, because freshwater is scarce on these low-lying atolls) and the Seychelles -- and then all the way to East Africa.
A dragonfly is a type of insect belonging to the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocta or, in the strict sense, the infraorder Anisoptera. It is characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest. Even though dragonflies possess 6 legs like any other insect, they are not capable of walking.
TedIndia 2009, Filmed Nov 2009
Dragonflies are valuable predators that eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants, and butterflies. They are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic.