When it comes to bat species, the Nathusias pipistrelle may seem relatively unassuming. Found throughout Europe, it is about as small as a common pipistrelle, measuring less than 2 inches long and weighing only 3 to 8 grams. But even with its small size, the species can deftly migrate over 600 miles in a season. Now a Nathusias pipistrelle has broken the record for any measured bat migration, according to a new study published in the journal Mammal.
In 2009, a young pipistrelle female was “banded” in the Russian Darwin Nature Reserve, where she received a small bracelet with an identification number on it. More than two months later, his body was found in the French Alps. A team of Russian and French biologists charted the course for at least 1,544 miles, although they speculate that with varying flight paths and hunting detours, the bat could have flown more than 1,864 miles. They also suspect the individual may have passed through some of Russia’s cold regions – an unusual choice for the small mammal, but supported by recent migration data.
[Related: The secret to these bats’ hunting prowess is deep within their ears]
Prior to this report, the record migration distance in bats also belonged to a Nathusias pipistrelle. This male flew about 1,381 miles, which could indicate that bats regularly fly longer distances than currently known. the Mammal the study authors called for further studies on the routes and distances traveled by these animals, especially as Europe has installed more wind farms, which have been shown to negatively affect the species of migrating bats.
Other chart-topping animal migrations
The 90,000 pound “devil fish” make one of the longest annual migrations of mammals. Each round trip is typically 10,000 miles per year, and a record-breaking whale is believed to have traveled 16,700 miles in a single trip.
While many bird species migrate in both directions, monarchs are the only butterfly species with the same behavior. Insects only travel during the day and at night, swarms of butterflies roost in groups. Migration from Mexico to the northern United States and Canada can occur over three to four generations, where each insect lives for two to six weeks. The last generation of the year is the only exception: its individuals live eight to nine months.
These declining fish move from rivers to the ocean to grow. They migrate as young, or “smolts”, in the spring, usually when they are two or three years old. Their routes take them from the rivers of Maine to the east coast, and eventually, back to their birthplaces to breed. Atlantic salmon are “anadromous” due to this migration, meaning they can live in both fresh and salt water.
Stretching up to 10 feet in length and weighing over 1,000 pounds, these migratory fish are powerful swimmers. They can travel at 12 to 18 miles per hour in short bursts, which propels them across the Pacific Ocean in about 55 days. This 5,000 mile journey takes them from the coast of Japan, through icy waters 1,800 feet below the sea surface, and finally to the coasts of California and Mexico.