Top 14 largest herds in the animal world

Some species of birds, fish, mammals, and insects can gather in large flocks of millions to trillions of birds. Join us to learn about the largest herds in the animal world.

1. Australian red crab

During the rainy season, flocks of millions of red crabs on Christmas Island, Australia, migrate to the sea to start a new breeding season. The migratory journey of red crabs will start from the forests of Christmas Island to the Indian Ocean coast. The number of red crabs in migratory crab herds can range from 40 million to 120 million. During the red crab migration season, signs prohibiting roads for vehicles and pedestrians are placed in many places in the area.

The ancient inhabitants of Christmas Island rarely mentioned this crab. It is possible that the current extremely large population of red crabs is a result of the Maclear rat - the factor that limited the red crab population - becoming extinct. The survey found an average of 0.09–0.57 adult red crabs per square metre, which equates to a total red crab population of approximately 43.7 million on Christmas Island. Some other estimates estimate that 120 million red crabs exist on Christmas Island, but there is no clear evidence.
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2. wildebeests

This species of antelope can gather in large herds of up to tens of millions of animals. A huge herd of antelope can be more than 140 km long. However, today the number of wildebeest is not as large as before due to hunting, habitat loss and disease.

In the Maasai Mara reserve, a non-migratory population of blue wildebeest declined from about 119,000 in 1977 to about 22,000 in 1997. The decline is believed to be due to increasing competition. between cattle and wildebeest over grazing land is decreasing, as a result of changes in agricultural practices and possibly fluctuations in rainfall.
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3. Herring

Gathering in schools is a common characteristic of fish species. However, herring is the species with the largest number of fish concentrated in schools among fish species. According to researchers, the number of fish in a school of herring can reach tens of millions, covering tens of square kilometers. Fish live in large groups to limit the risk of being eaten or concentrate during spawning time.

Herring is a type of fish similar to apricot fish but larger, with greenish skin, small bones, long, thin body, and two equal jaws. Fish have small or missing teeth, thin round scales that fall off easily, some species have comb scales, and the fish's abdominal spine has serrated teeth. Herring have the habit of migrating in large flocks. Herring lives in surface water, usually has no hiding place, has an elongated body, normally developed even fins, a strong tail, and swims quickly.

In nature, herring are prey fish for predators such as seabirds, dolphins, sea lions, whales, sharks, tuna, cod, salmon, and other large fish. Herring, in particular, is a rich source of food for bald eagles. Herrings are one of the groups of small bony fish that survived the extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period, and they still exist today in marine environments. Fossil herring in the western United States where the three states of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada meet.

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4. Argentine Ant

Recently, scientists discovered a huge colony of Argentine ants with a number of ants that could cover almost the entire globe. The largest ant colonies can stretch nearly 6,000 km along the Mediterranean coast.

Argentine ant, scientific name Linepithema humile, is a species of ant native to Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. It is an invasive species in many Mediterranean climate regions of the world such as South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Easter Island, Australia, Hawaii, Europe, and the United States, where it kills other native ant species and spread.

Argentine ants are different in that they do not attack each other when not in the same nest like other ant species. In a nest, you can see many queen ants that other ant species do not have, and it can be said that this is how they succeed in killing each other. invade the habitat of native insects.

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5. Shrimp Krill

Krill shrimp are small crustaceans that live in large schools. The density of individuals in a herd can reach 10,000 - 30,000 individuals per cubic meter. They can be found in every ocean in the world, but the largest population of krill shrimp is found in Antarctic waters. The size of a giant krill shrimp colony is usually about 10 km long and 30 m deep.

Although krill shrimp are small, they are extremely important to the survival of the ocean and are concentrated in the largest numbers in Antarctic waters. Overexploitation of krill not only severely reduces ocean biodiversity, but also affects marine fish stocks and the world's fishing industry.

Krill float by the force of water currents, using swimming legs shaped like hairs to adjust their direction and filter food from sea water, as well as eat algae in the ice during winter and winter months. spring.
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6. Grasshopper

Swarms of millions of locusts are a nightmare for farmers. Many locust swarms even have trillions of locusts. One of the records for giant locust swarms was recorded in North America in 1875. The size of this locust swarm is estimated to be about 500,000 km2, equivalent to the area of ​​California, USA. There are about 12.5 trillion locusts.

The record for the largest swarm in the animal world belongs to grasshoppers. In East Africa in early 2020, a cloud of desert locusts swept across the sky, spanning thousands of square kilometers. "It was like a black blanket covering the sky, so dense that it was difficult to see the clouds," described researcher Emily Kimathi at the Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya.

That particular event was the largest swarm observed in the Horn of Africa in 25 years. Experts estimate that they congregate at a density of about 50 million locusts per square kilometer, meaning that a single locust swarm would contain about 200 billion locusts. Desert locusts are known for their ability to reproduce very quickly, able to increase in number 20 times over a three-month period.
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7. Mayfly

An adult mayfly usually lives one to two days. Typically, all the mayflies will develop at roughly the same time, gathering in large flocks and filling the sky as they move. Because the life cycle of mayflies is quite short, they live in concentrations to maintain reproduction. Of the nearly 2,500 species of mayflies in the world, about 630 are found in North America.

Mayflies are a relatively primitive group of insects, exhibiting some ancient characteristics that were probably present in the first flying insects. The larvae of mayflies live in fresh water and only live in clean, unpolluted water. Mayflies live in water, can live from 1 to 3 years, after molting on shore they can only live for a few short hours.

Zooplankton are floating animals that range in size from microscopic rotifers to visible to the naked eye like jellyfish. The distribution of zooplankton is governed by salinity, temperature and food availability in the environment. The smallest zooplankton can be described as recyclers of nutrients in the water column and are often associated with nutrient enrichment measures.

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8. Red-billed quelea bird

The red-billed quelea is the most numerous wild bird in the world. When gathered in large flocks, red-billed quelea birds can cause damage to crops, similar to the damage caused by locust swarms.

Quelea mainly feeds on the seeds of annual grasses, but also causes widespread damage to cereal crops. Therefore, it is sometimes called the "feathered locust of Africa". Common pest control measures are spraying termites or exploding fire bombs in huge colonies during the night. Widespread control measures have largely been unsuccessful in limiting Quelea's population. When food is depleted, the species migrates to locations with recent rainfall and abundant grass; therefore it exploits its food source very effectively.

It is considered the most numerous non-domesticated bird on earth, with its total post-breeding population sometimes peaking at an estimated 1.5 billion individuals. It feeds in huge flocks of millions of individuals, with birds running out of food in the back flying through the flock to new feeding areas in the front, creating the appearance of a rolling cloud.

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9. Penguin

Penguins, also known as penguins, are a group of flightless waterfowl. They live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, with only one species, the Galápagos penguin, found north of the equator. Well-adapted for life in water, penguins have contrasting plumage of light and dark markings and flippers for swimming. Most penguins eat krill, fish, squid and other forms of marine life that they catch while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their lives on land and the other half in the sea.
Although not the only creature living in Antarctica, penguins are endemic to the southernmost part of the world and are not found in any other land. The reason this animal can survive in such harsh weather conditions is because it has a body structure that helps adapt to cold climates:

Penguins can withstand the cold because they have a specially constructed "fur coat" to keep them warm, block the wind, and shake off water after foraging. Many people think that penguins have no feathers. However, in reality, penguins have the highest density of feathers (the densest) than any other bird.
One thing that is also extremely important to help them comfortably dive in cold water is the thick layer of fat given to them by mother nature. You may not know, on average a penguin has up to 30% of its body weight as fat.
Third is the herd lifestyle. Penguins often live in large flocks, up to thousands, and individuals in the flock can warm each other against the bitter cold in Antarctica.
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10. Bats

The order Bats (scientific name: Chiroptera) is the order with the second largest number of species in the class Mammals with about 1,100 species, accounting for 20% of mammals (the first is the order Rodents, accounting for 40% of species). The Greek word Chiroptera is a combination of two words: cheir (χειρ) "hand" and pteron "wing". As the name suggests, the structure of their forelimbs resembles a human hand with the fingers connected by skin membranes and forming wings. (In bats, to be exact, the wings are made up of skin membranes connecting the arm bones and fingers)

Bats are the only mammals that can fly. Some other animals such as flying foxes, flying squirrels... look like they can fly, but in fact they can only glide - within a limited distance. About 70% of bat species eat insects, the rest mainly eat fruits and only a few species eat meat. Bats are necessary for ecology because they play a role in pollinating flowers or dispersing tree seeds. The dispersal of many tree species depends entirely on bats. The smallest bat species is Kitti's pig-nosed bat, only 29–33 mm long and weighing about 2 grams. The largest species is the large yellow-headed fruit bat with a wingspan of 1.5 m and a weight of about 1.2 kg.
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11. Honeybee

In a colony there are queen bees, male bees and worker bees. The queen bee has a body 20 - 25 mm long. Short wings, short needles. Male bees: body length 15 - 17 mm. No stinger, large wings. Male bees have only one purpose: to mate with the silk queen. Worker bees: are female bees whose genitals are degenerated and are unable to fertilize. Worker bees perform all the work of the bee colony: protect the hive, produce royal milk to feed the larvae, and collect nectar to make honey.

In honey bee societies, a few larvae are chosen to be queen bees and the majority are chosen to be worker bees. For honey bees, enzymes in the intestines of honey bees have the ability to neutralize the toxins of pesticides commonly used to kill mites in honey bee hives. Honey bees have hairs on their eyes that help them collect pollen. Bees have 5 eyes - 3 small eyes on the top of the head and 2 large eyes in the front. A bee needs to find 4,000 flowers to make one teaspoon of honey.

Regarding natural enemies, in addition to threats from viruses (which are the main cause of the decline of honey bees) and poisonous mushrooms, North American honey bees also encounter parasitic flies that turn into flying corpses, which are female flies. Apocephalus borealis injects eggs into the victim's abdomen. After eating the bee's thoracic organs, the fly larvae will bore into the creature's body and crawl out.
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12. Pilchard

Sardines, the English name pilchard or sardine, are a few species of small oily fish belonging to the herring family. The name Sardine is named after the Mediterranean island of Sardina. Sardines have long, oval-shaped bodies. Their back is bluish or brown, their belly is silver. Sardines eat moss, fish eggs, larvae and small shrimps. During the day, sardines stay at a depth of about 30 - 60 m and at night they emerge at a depth of 15 - 30 m. Sardines have a precise biological clock, similar to the biological clock of salmon in the West. Sardine eggs hatch in fresh water, the young fish grow up along miles of rivers and streams flowing to the sea so that when spring comes, the next breeding season they return upstream to the place of their birth to do their duty. is reproductive.
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13. Zebra

Zebras evolved from Old World horses about 4 million years ago. It has been suggested that zebras are polyphyletic and that zebra stripes have evolved more than once. Large stripes are admittedly of little use for equids that live in low densities in deserts (such as donkeys and horses), or those that live in colder annual climates with shaggy coats (such as some horses). ). However, molecular evidence suggests that zebras are monophyletic.

Researchers used GPS tracking devices to track the migration of eight zebra species from Namibia to Botswana over several months. Their migration distance is up to 500km in the Serengeti wildlife reserve. This is the longest, longest historical land migration ever in the mammal world.

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14. Queen Butterfly

Monarch butterflies are small animals with millions of butterflies in each migration. This is the only butterfly species that migrates in both North-South and South-North directions like birds. However, because its life cycle is short, during the migration process, no individuals in the butterfly flock survive. They lay eggs throughout their migratory journey.

These analyzes have renewed understanding of the history of migratory butterflies with this distinctive bright orange and black wing combination, because previously many scientists believed that the migration phenomenon had only appeared recently. These misunderstandings stem from the fact that most members of the monarch butterfly family that breed outside of North America are tropical, non-migratory species, so scientists have always thought that their ancestors were also so and only started migrating from the 19th century.
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