Yes, you read that correctly, some animals have natural antifreeze in their bodies! It's not exactly like the antifreeze that we put in our windshield wiper fluid, but it certainly serves the same purpose. The antifreeze that is found throughout some insects is a variety of different compounds that are also known as cryoprotectants. Cryo- meaning involving or producing cold and -protectants meaning providing protection, so cold protection or protection from the cold.
Monarchs are not the only insects that participate in cyclical migrations, many flies and even lady beetles have similar habits. Because of their small size and ability to go unnoticed most of the time, it can be difficult to track insect migration. Even so, scientists have observed a couple of interesting anomalies in the past few years indicating that insect migration may be more common than we think.
... And more!
Bugs are by far the most diverse animals on the planet and can be found on every single continent including Antarctica! This means that they have to have some incredible adaptations to defeat the cold weather. We talked about some of them above, but there are many more ways these little critters escape and even thrive in the cold weather. Some of these other methods include huddling together for warmth, digging below the frost line, laying eggs that can survive the cold weather before dying, and finding shelter in man-made buildings and structures.
NRT's dedicated staff are responsible for the content of the NatureTalk blog. Questions? For more information on any blog post, please contact us at any time.