Painted ladies and monarchs migrate hundreds of miles (~1.61 hundreds of kms).

Are there long distance fliers that are significantly smaller?

Dual question: Are fliers' migration distances strictly a function of size? Or are there any fly-sized 1000-mile migrators?


1 Answer 1


The marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) flies to Southern Europe and back every year. enter image description here

It's difficult to track and find them compared to birds and butterflies, here is a study witch citations: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1570-7458.2007.00568.x?purchase_referrer=scholar.google.fr&tracking_action=preview_click&r3_referer=wol&show_checkout=1

it is now known that large numbers of E. balteatus migrate South during the autumn period. Therefore, it has been sug-gested that a comparable migration to the North helps tore-establish E. balteatus populations in northern Europe during the spring. There are many records to show that some hoverfly adults are active so early in the spring that they could not possibly be long-distance migrants. Nevertheless, although some adults remain active late into the autumn, few authors have managed to find females in overwintering sites

studies have suggested that E. balteatus migrates in large numbers during late summer and autumn to the Mediterranean area and only return to central and northern Europe during the following year(Aubert et al., 1976; Gatter & Schmid, 1990; Kehlmaier & Martínez de Murguía, 2004; Hondelmann et al., 2005).


  • $\begingroup$ That's pretty small! How long do they live? Vanessa's take 6-ish generations to make the Africa-Europe-Africa trip each year. $\endgroup$
    – user38715
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @user38715! According to the Science News article in com.prehensible's great answer, they only live for about a month! They accomplish a tremendous amount in a short period of time, and they're gorgeous too! $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 2:22

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