HOME

TheInfoList




Animal migration is the relatively long-distance movement of individual animals, usually on a seasonal basis. It is the most common form of
migration Migration, migratory, or migrate may refer to: Human migration * Human migration, physical movement by humans from one region to another ** International migration, when peoples cross state boundaries and stay in the host state for some minimum len ...
in ecology. It is found in all major animal groups, including
birds Birds are a group of s constituting the Aves , characterised by s, toothless beaked jaws, the of eggs, a high rate, a four-chambered , and a strong yet lightweight . Birds live worldwide and range in size from the to the . There ar ...
, mammals,
fish Fish are aquatic Aquatic means relating to water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the ...
, reptiles, amphibians,
insects Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invertebrates of the class (biology), class Insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, Thorax (ins ...
, and crustaceans. The trigger for the migration may be local climate, local availability of food, the season of the year or for mating reasons. To be counted as a true migration, and not just a local dispersal or irruption, the movement of the animals should be an annual or seasonal occurrence, such as
Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remain ...

Northern Hemisphere
birds migrating south for the winter;
wildebeest Wildebeest ( , , ), also called gnu ( or ), are antelope The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ruminant Ruminants (suborder In biological classification, the order ( la, wikt:ordo#Latin, ordo) is # a taxo ...

wildebeest
migrating annually for seasonal grazing; or a major habitat change as part of their life, such as young
Atlantic salmon The Atlantic salmon (''Salmo salar'') is a species of ray-finned fish in the family Salmonidae Salmonidae is a family of ray-finned fish, the only living family currently placed in the order Salmoniformes . It includes salmon, trout, cha ...

Atlantic salmon
or sea lamprey leaving the river of their birth when they have reached a few inches in size.


Overview

Migration can take very different forms in different species, and as such there is no simple accepted definition of migration. One of the most commonly used definitions, proposed by Kennedy is Migration encompasses four related concepts: persistent straight movement; relocation of an individual on a greater scale (both spatially and temporally) than its normal daily activities; seasonal to-and-fro movement of a population between two areas; and movement leading to the redistribution of individuals within a population. Migration can be either
obligate{{wiktionary, obligate As an adjective, obligate means "by necessity" (antonym '' facultative'') and is used mainly in biology in phrases such as: * Obligate aerobe 300px, Aerobic and anaerobic bacteria can be identified by growing them in test tub ...
, meaning individuals must migrate, or facultative, meaning individuals can "choose" to migrate or not. Within a migratory species or even within a single population, often not all individuals migrate. ''Complete migration'' is when all individuals migrate, ''partial migration'' is when some individuals migrate while others do not, and ''differential migration'' is when the difference between migratory and non-migratory individuals is based on age or sex (for example). While most migratory movements occur on an annual cycle, some daily movements are also referred to as migration. Many aquatic animals make a
diel vertical migration Diel vertical migration (DVM), also known as diurnal vertical migration, is a pattern of movement used by some organisms, such as copepod Copepods (; meaning "oar-feet") are a group of small crustaceans found in nearly every freshwater and sal ...
, travelling a few hundred meters up and down the water column, while some jellyfish make daily horizontal migrations, traveling a few hundred meters across a lake. Irregular (non-cyclical) migrations such as irruptions can occur under pressure of famine, overpopulation of a locality, or some more obscure influence. Seasonal migration is the movement of various species from one habitat to another during the year. Resource availability changes depending on seasonal fluctuations, which influence migration patterns. Some species such as Pacific salmon migrate to reproduce; every year they swim upstream to mate and then return to the ocean. Temperature is a driving factor of migration that is dependent on the time of year. Many species, especially birds, migrate to warmer locations during the winter to escape poor environmental conditions. Circadian migration is where birds utilize circadian rhythm (CR) to regulate migration in both the fall and the spring. In circadian migration clocks of both circadian (daily) and circannual (annual) patterns are utilized to determine the birds’ orientation in both time and space as they migrate from one destination to the next. This type of migration is advantageous in birds that during the winter remain close to the equator, and also allows the monitoring of the auditory and spatial memory of the birds’ brain to remember an optimal site of migration. These birds also have timing mechanisms that provide avians with the distance required to travel in order to reach their destination. To regulate the migration patterns of these birds, the mammalian circadian clock is utilized. This clock allows birds to determine when the appropriate time is to migrate, which location will best help them regulate their metabolism, and whether land or water travel will be most advantageous. Tidal migration is the use of tides by organisms to move periodically from one habitat to another. This type of migration is often used in order to find food or mates. Tides can carry organisms horizontally and vertically for as little as a few nanometers to even thousands of kilometers. The most common form of tidal migration is to and from
Intertidal zone The intertidal zone, also known as the foreshore or seashore, is the area above water level Water level, also known as gauge height or stage, is the elevation of the free surface of a sea, stream, lake or reservoir relative to a specified ve ...
during daily tidal cycles. These zones are often populated by many different species and are nutrient rich. Organisms like crabs, nematodes, small fish, corals, and other species cycle to these areas as the tides rise and fall typically about every twelve hours. The cycle movements are associated with foraging of marine and bird species. Typically, during low tide smaller or younger species will emerge to forage because they can survive in the shallower water and have less chance of being preyed upon. During high tide, larger species can be found due to the deeper water and nutrient upwelling from the tidal movements. Tidal migration is often facilitated by
ocean current An ocean current is a continuous, directed movement of sea water generated by a number of forces acting upon the water, including wind Wind is the natural movement of air or other gases relative to a planet's surface. Wind occurs on a range ...
s.


In specific groups

Different kinds of animal migrate in different ways.


In birds

Approximately 1,800 of the world's 10,000 bird species migrate long distances each year in response to the seasons. Many of these migrations are north-south, with species feeding and breeding in high northern latitudes in the summer, and moving some hundreds of kilometres south for the winter. Some species extend this strategy to migrate annually between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The
Arctic tern#REDIRECT Arctic tern {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{R from other capitalisation ...

Arctic tern
is famous for its migration; it flies from its
Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar regions of Earth, polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska (United States), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Danish Realm, ...

Arctic
breeding grounds to the
Antarctic The Antarctic (US English or , UK English or and or ) is a around 's , opposite the region around the . The Antarctic comprises the continent of , the and other located on the or south of the . The Antarctic region includes the , wa ...

Antarctic
and back again each year, a distance of at least , giving it two summers every year.


In fish

Most fish species are relatively limited in their movements, remaining in a single geographical area and making short migrations for wintering, to spawn, or to feed. A few hundred species migrate long distances, in some cases of thousands of kilometres. About 120 species of fish, including several species of
salmon Salmon is the common name for several species of ray-finned fish Actinopterygii ( New Latin ('having rays') + Greek ( 'wing, fins')), members of which are known as ray-finned fishes, is a clade A clade (; from grc, , ''klados'', ...

salmon
, migrate between saltwater and freshwater (they are 'diadromous').
Forage fish Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small pelagic fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators include other larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Typical ocean forage fish feed near the base of the food ...

Forage fish
such as
herring Herring are forage fish Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small pelagic fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators include other larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Typical ocean forage fish feed ...

herring
and
capelin The capelin or caplin (''Mallotus villosus'') is a small forage fish Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small pelagic fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators include other larger fish, seabirds and m ...
migrate around substantial parts of the North ocean. The capelin for example spawn around the southern and western coasts of Iceland; their larvae drift clockwise around Iceland, while the fish swim northwards towards
Jan Mayen Jan Mayen () is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norw ...

Jan Mayen
island to feed, and return to Iceland parallel with Greenland's east coast. In the '
sardine run The sardine run of southern Africa occurs from May through July when billions of sardines – or more specifically the Southern African pilchard ''Sardinops sagax'' – spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and move northward along the ...
', billions of Southern African
pilchard "Sardine" and "pilchard" are common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachuse ...
''
Sardinops sagax ''Sardinops'' is a monotypic In biology, a monotypic taxon is a taxonomic group ( taxon) that contains only one immediately subordinate taxon. A monotypic species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, cla ...

Sardinops sagax
'' spawn in the cool waters of the
Agulhas Bank The Agulhas Bank (, from Portuguese for Cape Agulhas, ''Cabo das Agulhas'', "Cape of Needles") is a broad, shallow part of the southern African continental shelf which extends up to south of Cape Agulhas before falling steeply to the abyssal pl ...
and move northward along the east coast of
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
between May and July.


In insects

Some winged
insects Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invertebrates of the class (biology), class Insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, Thorax (ins ...

insects
such as
locust Locusts (derived from the Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considere ...

locust
s and certain
butterflies Butterflies are insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', m ...

butterflies
and
dragonflies A dragonfly is a flying insect belonging to the order Odonata, infraorder Anisoptera (from Ancient Greek, Greek ἄνισος ''anisos'', "unequal" and πτερόν ''pteron'', "wing", because the hindwing is broader than the forewing). Adult d ...

dragonflies
with strong flight migrate long distances. Among the dragonflies, species of ''
Libellula ''Libellula'' is a genus of dragonfly, dragonflies, commonly called skimmers, in the family Libellulidae, distributed throughout the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. Most species are found in the United States, where they are the best- ...

Libellula
'' and '''' are known for mass migration, while ''
Pantala flavescens ''Pantala flavescens'', the globe skimmer, globe wanderer or wandering glider, is a wide-ranging dragonfly of the family Libellulidae. This species and ''Pantala hymenaea'', the "spot-winged glider", are the only members of the genus ''Pantala''. ...

Pantala flavescens
'', known as the globe skimmer or wandering glider dragonfly, makes the longest ocean crossing of any insect, between India and Africa. Exceptionally, swarms of the desert locust, '''', flew westwards across the Atlantic Ocean for 4500 km during October 1988, using air currents in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone. In some , such as the
monarch butterfly The monarch butterfly or simply monarch (''Danaus plexippus'') is a milkweed butterfly (subfamily Danainae) in the family Nymphalidae. Other common names, depending on region, include milkweed, common tiger, wanderer, and black-veined brown. It ...

monarch butterfly
and the
painted lady ''Vanessa cardui'' is a well-known colourful butterfly, known as the painted lady, or formerly in North America as the cosmopolitan. Description File:Vanessa cardui MHNT CUT 2013 3 14 Pontfaverger-Moronvilliers Dos.jpg, Dorsal side File:V ...

painted lady
, no individual completes the whole migration. Instead the butterflies mate and reproduce on the journey, and successive generations travel the next stage of the migration.


In mammals

Some mammals exhibit extraordinary migrations, with
caribou The reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus''), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North ...

caribou
having one of the longest known terrestrial migrations on the planet, reaching as much as 4868 km/year in North America. However, over the course of a year, move the most. One gray wolf, in particular, covered a total cumulative annual distance (TCAD) of 7247 km. Mass migration occurs in mammals such as the , an annual circular pattern of movement with some 1.7 million
wildebeest Wildebeest ( , , ), also called gnu ( or ), are antelope The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ruminant Ruminants (suborder In biological classification, the order ( la, wikt:ordo#Latin, ordo) is # a taxo ...

wildebeest
and hundreds of thousands of other large game animals including
gazelle A gazelle is any of many antelope The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ruminant Ruminants (suborder In biological classification, the order ( la, wikt:ordo#Latin, ordo) is # a taxonomic rank used in the classi ...

gazelle
s and
zebra Zebras (, ) (subgenus ''Hippotigris'') are African equines with distinctive black-and-white striped Animal coat, coats. There are three Extant taxon, living species: the Grévy's zebra (''Equus grevyi''), plains zebra (''E. quagga''), and the ...

zebra
. A literature survey in 2009 found more than 20 species which engage, or used to engage, in mass migrations. Of these migrations, those of the
springbok The springbok (''Antidorcas marsupialis'') is a medium-sized antelope The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ruminant Ruminants (suborder In biological classification, the order ( la, wikt:ordo#Latin, ordo) ...

springbok
,
black wildebeest The black wildebeest (''Connochaetes gnou'') or white-tailed gnu, is one of the two closely related wildebeest Wildebeest ( , , ), also called gnu ( or ), are antelope The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ...

black wildebeest
,
blesbok The blesbok or blesbuck (''Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi'') is an antelope The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ruminant Ruminants are herbivorous mammals of the suborder Ruminantia that are able to acquire nutrients ...

blesbok
,
scimitar-horned oryx The scimitar oryx (''Oryx dammah''), also known as the scimitar-horned oryx and the Sahara oryx, is a species of ''Oryx'' that was once widespread across North Africa. The species went extinct in the wild in 2000, but a group was released into an ...

scimitar-horned oryx
, and kulan have ceased. Long-distance migrations occur in some bats, notably the mass migration of the
Mexican free-tailed bat The Mexican free-tailed bat or Brazilian free-tailed bat (''Tadarida brasiliensis'') is a medium-sized bat native to the Americas, regarded as one of the most abundant mammals in North America. Its proclivity towards roosting in huge numbers at ...
between Oregon and southern Mexico. Migration is important in
cetacea Cetaceans (from la, cetus Cetus () is a constellation, sometimes called 'the whale' in English. The Cetus (mythology), Cetus was a sea monster in Greek mythology which both Perseus and Heracles needed to slay. Cetus is in the region of the ...

cetacea
ns, including whales, dolphins and porpoises.


In other animals

Some reptiles and amphibians migrate. Some crustaceans migrate, most spectacularly the
Christmas Island red crab The Christmas Island red crab (''Gecarcoidea natalis'') is a species of terrestrial crab, land crab that is endemism, endemic to Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. Although restricted to a relatively small area, an ...

Christmas Island red crab
which moves en masse each year by the million.


Tracking migration

Scientists gather observations of animal migration by tracking their movements. Animals were traditionally tracked with identification tags such as bird rings for later recovery; no information was obtained about the actual route followed between release and recovery, and only a small fraction of tagged individuals were generally recovered. More convenient, therefore, are electronic devices such as radio tracking collars which can be followed by radio, whether handheld, in a vehicle or aircraft, or by satellite. Tags can include a
GPS The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national ...
receiver, enabling accurate positions to be broadcast at regular intervals, but these are inevitably heavier and more expensive than devices without GPS. An alternative is the Argos Doppler tag, also called a 'Platform Transmitter Terminal' (PTT) which sends regularly to the polar-orbiting Argos satellites; using
Doppler shift The Doppler effect or Doppler shift (or simply Doppler, when in context) is the change in frequency of a wave in relation to an observer (physics), observer who is moving relative to the wave source. It is named after the Austrian physicist ...

Doppler shift
, the animal's location can be estimated, relatively roughly compared to GPS, but at lower cost and weight. Radio tracking tags can be fitted to insects including
dragonflies A dragonfly is a flying insect belonging to the order Odonata, infraorder Anisoptera (from Ancient Greek, Greek ἄνισος ''anisos'', "unequal" and πτερόν ''pteron'', "wing", because the hindwing is broader than the forewing). Adult d ...

dragonflies
and
bees Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey. Bees are a monophyly, monophyletic lineage within the ...

bees
.


In culture

Before animal migration was understood, various folklore and erroneous explanations sprang up to account for the disappearance or sudden arrival of birds in an area. In
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
proposed that robins turned into when summer arrived. The
barnacle goose The barnacle goose (''Branta leucopsis'') belongs to the genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such clas ...

barnacle goose
was explained in European Medieval bestiaries and manuscripts as either growing like fruit on trees, or developing from goose barnacles on pieces of driftwood. Another example is the
swallow The swallows, martins, and saw-wings, or Hirundinidae, are a family of passerine birds found around the world on all continents, including occasionally in Antarctica. Highly adapted to aerial feeding, they have a distinctive appearance. The term ...

swallow
, which was once thought, even by
naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecul ...
s such as
Gilbert White Gilbert White FRS FRS may also refer to: Government and politics * Facility Registry System, a centrally managed Environmental Protection Agency database that identifies places of environmental interest in the United States * Family Resource ...

Gilbert White
, to
hibernate Hibernation is a state of minimal activity and metabolic depression. Hibernation is a seasonal heterothermy characterized by low body-temperature, slow breathing and heart-rate, and low metabolic rate Metabolism (, from el, μετα ...

hibernate
either underwater, buried in muddy riverbanks, or in hollow trees.


See also

*
Animal navigation Animal navigation is the ability of many animals to find their way accurately without maps or instruments. Birds such as the Arctic tern#REDIRECT Arctic tern {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{R from other capitalisation ..., insect ...
*
Great American Interchange The Great American Biotic Interchange (commonly abbreviated as GABI), also known as the Great American Interchange or Great American Faunal Interchange, was an important late Cenozoic The Cenozoic ( ; ) is Earth's current geological era An er ...
*
Human migration Human migration involves the movement of people from one place to another with intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily, at a new location (geographic region). The movement often occurs over long distances and from one country ...

Human migration
*
Migration (ecology):''For more specific information: Bird migration Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway, between Breeding in the wild, breeding and wintering grounds. Many species of bird migrate. Animal migration, ...


References


Further reading


In general

* Aidley, D.J. (1981
''Animal migration.''
Cambridge University Press. * Baker, R.R. (1978
''The Evolutionary Ecology of Animal Migration''.
Holmes & Meier Publishers. * Dingle, H. (1996
''Migration: The Biology of Life on the Move''.
Oxford University Press. * Gauthreaux, S.A. (1980
''Animal Migration, Orientation, and Navigation''.
Academic Press. * Milner-Gulland, E.J., J.M. Fryxell, and A.R.E. Sinclair (2011
''Animal Migration: A Synthesis''.
Oxford University Press. * Rankin, M. (1985) ''Migration: Mechanisms and Adaptive Significance: Contributions in Marine Science''. Marine Science Institute. * Riede, K. (2002
''Global Register of Migratory Species. With database and GIS maps on CD''.


In specific groups

* Alerstam, T. (1990) ''Bird migration''. Cambridge University Press. * Berthold, P. (2003) ''Avian migration''. Springer. * Drake, V.A. and Gatehouse, A. G. (1995) ''Insect migration: tracking resources through space and time''. Cambridge University Press. * Elphick, J. (1995) ''The atlas of bird migration: tracing the great journeys of the world's birds''. Random House. * Greenberg, R. and Marra, P.P. (2005) ''Birds of Two Worlds: The Ecology and Evolution of Migration''. Johns Hopkins University Press. * Harden Jones, F.R. (1968) ''Fish migration''. St. Martin’s Press. * Lucas, M.C. and Baras, E. (2001) ''Migration of freshwater fishes''. Blackwell Science. * McKeown, B.A. (1984) ''Fish migration''. Timber Press.


For children

* Gans, R. and Mirocha, P. ''How do Birds Find their Way?'' HarperCollins. (Stage 2) * Marsh, L. (2010) ''Amazing Animal Journeys''. National Geographic Society. (Level 3)


External links

*https://web.archive.org/web/20121017111637/http://www.nps.gov/akso/parkwise/students/referencelibrary/general/migrationbasics.htm


Global Register of Migratory Species
– identifies, maps and features 4,300 migratory vertebrate species
Animal migration on PubMed
MeSH A mesh is a barrier made of connected strands of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearan ...

MeSH
ter
F01.145.113.083
{{Authority control Ethology