On the night of July 4, professional storm chaser and photographer Mike Hollingshead caught sight of a whirlwind of insects in the air so thick, that “it looked like it was smoking,” Hollingshead told science news website, LiveScience.com.
After capturing the strange phenomenon – which he later dubbed a bugnado – on camera, Mike uploaded the video to the web, and, not surprisingly, it has since gone viral.
So what exactly is a bugnado?
Joe Kieper, an entomologist and executive director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History, explained that they are actually swarms of either mayflies or midges, two types of insects that spend their immature stages of life as aquatic nymphs, then rise to the water’s surface, grow wings, and take flight as adults.
At that point – with their lives nearly over – they have just one duty left: reproduction.
“This is a mating flight,” Kieper revealed. “The males are trying to impress the females, and the females select a mate. No one knows what the females are looking for when they choose a sex partner from among the masses.”
Regardless, after the new pair mates in an airborne frenzy, the males die. The females head back to water to lay their eggs, and then they die, too.
Behold the amazing vortex of insects known as the bugnado: