The Billion-Bug Highway You Can’t See

When you look up in the sky, what do you see besides the blue sky, clouds, the occasional bird and plane, the Sun, and the Moon? In this whimsical animated video from NPR, we learn about the various insects – the wasps, aphids, beetles, etc. – that inhabit the upper levels of the troposphere. What’s incredible is that in the peak summer months, there are billions of these insects high in the sky, with some cruising at an altitude of 19,000 feet, equivalent to the height of Mount McKinley!

For the botanists out there: the title of the video is a little misleading, as the word bug actually refers to an insect of the order Hemiptera; to be precise, we have to call it the billion-insect highway…

Highly recommended: the accompanying NPR story from Robert Krulwich.

Eugene Buchko is a blogger and photographer living in Atlanta, GA. He maintains a photoblog, Erudite Expressions, and writes about what he reads on his reading blog.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.