Written by SARAH REID

8 unusual animal migrations

So you know about the enormous loop that Africa’s wildebeest make around the Serengeti, and the movement of humpback whales between their Antarctic feeding grounds and subtropical breeding grounds.

But are you also aware that the natural world contains plenty of other, lesser-known spectacles that involve vast numbers of critters on the move?

Here’s where to see eight of the world’s quirkier migrations with your own eyes.

Golden jellyfish

The golden jellyfish of Palau’s famous Jellyfish Lake – which are not poisonous to humans – perform a unique daily migration route that follows the sun’s arc across the sky.

Each morning, these soft-bodied animals cluster on the western shore of this Micronesian marine lake to perform a horizontal migration towards the rising sun.

They stop just short of the shadows formed by lakeside trees where their primary predators, anemones, live. After a break while the sun is high in the sky, the jellyfish then make the return trip.

Monarch butterflies

Every autumn, distinctive black-and-gold monarch butterflies begin their migration from their southern Canada and eastern US breeding grounds to overwintering sites in central Mexico and California.

But unlike other animals that perform epic migrations, these individual butterflies will never return. When the insects start to flutter home again in May, females will stop en route to lay eggs.

In a few days, the eggs hatch into striped caterpillars and consume vast amounts of milkweed before forming a chrysalis and transforming into adult butterflies.

The new butterflies then take to the skies to fly another few hundred kilometres north before repeating the process for as many as five generations to complete the journey.

Lesser flamingos

Every year in August, the nomadic lesser flamingos of sub-Saharan Africa flock to the Great Rift Valley lakes of East Africa to feed on immense blooms of microscopic blue-green algae.

Then they fly to Lake Natron in Tanzania to mate and nest. With flamingo numbers at each of these two lakes often topping two million, these moving seas of pink are a breathtaking sight to behold.