Small flying insect with large wing-to-body ratio
Location: Malibu, CA
October 7, 2010 8:45 pm
I was hiking today and suddenly surrounded by these guys. Their swarm was actually kind of magical, they looked like mystical cartoon bugs with only wings and no bodies! I found a few congregated on the ground and got a good picture.
What is this bug? I’ve never seen anything like it!
Signature: Thanks, -Kali
These are Termite Alates, the reproductive kings and queens on their nuptial flight. Each pair may become the start of a new colony, or they might continue to live in the parent colony. There are often multiple royal couples in established colonies. The alpha Queen can become massive, something you would never expect from such lithe virginal adolescents. Most of these Alates will not become new colonies, instead becoming an important link in the food chain. They are preyed upon by bats, swallows and other insectivores including lizards and spiders and many other native creatures.