ENVIRONMENT
05/28/2014 01:30 pm ET Updated May 28, 2014

Tornado Of Insects Is As Terrifying As It Sounds (PHOTO)

Not much ranks higher on our terror scale than a swarm of insects. Well, maybe, a tornado made of insects.

Portuguese photographer Ana Filipa Scarpa captured an incredible sight in March when she was visiting Leziria Grande, in the town of Vila Franca de Xira. She spotted a mysterious funnel down the road, and when she drew near, she discovered that the structure was no ordinary tornado, but a funnel-shaped cloud of live insects.

"At first I believed it was a wind twister, the animals around me were very nervous," she told Caters News Agency. "So I entered my car and drove towards it... I realized that an enormous amount of insects were in fact the tornado."

Inciting comparisons to "Sharknado," the tornado-like swarm spanned an estimated 1,000 feet. Scarpa snapped a photo with her 200 mm lens while she was about a quarter a mile away.


While some dubbed the sight a mosquito tornado or "mosquito-nado" based on Scarpa's initial description, NASA's Earth Observatory notes that the type of insects within the swarm is unknown. The running contender is the red locust, a species of large grasshopper.

Scarpa's stunning image may be remarkable for the shape the swarm takes, but it's not the first time insects have formed a tornado. In a similar photo captured in 2011, a funnel-shaped swarm of insects is seen along a highway in Missouri. At the time, entomologists identified the insect within the "Bugnado" as midges, a type of small fly that is harmless to humans.

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