Infographic shows which bugs will likely die off first in 'insect apocalypse'

13 February, 2019, 16:33 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Scientists Predict'Catastrophic Consequences for Mankind as Insects Die OutCC0

They found that there are 41% of insects that are in decline, while 31% of insect species have encountered threatening declination, according to the numbers set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. But we have to keep in mind that insects are essential to the proper functioning of our ecosystems, regardless of how much we may dislike them.

A third of the total world's insects are endangered, the report found, warning that at their current pace of extinction, they might disappear completely in 100 years.

Over 40% of global insect species are threatened with extinction, scientists said in a new report, marking an unprecedented loss of biodiversity.

Francisco Sánchez-Bayo of the University of Sydney said, 'If insect species losses can not be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet's ecosystems and for the survival of mankind. There are 17 times more insects around the world than humans, according to another study.

Intensive agriculture is being blamed for the plummeting numbers, particularly the heavy use of pesticides. It involved a comprehensive review of 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the globe, systematically assessing the underlying drivers of the population declines. Invasive species, pathogens and climate change are also getting punches in.

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But insects comprise about two-thirds of all terrestrial species, and have been the foundation of key ecosystems since emerging nearly 400 million years ago.

Matt Shardlow, chief executive of wildlife charity Buglife, said: "It's not just about bees, or even about pollination and feeding ourselves, the declines also include dung beetles that recycle waste and insects like dragonflies that start life in rivers and ponds".

"Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades", the researchers wrote. Sánchez-Bayo told the Guardian: "It is very rapid".

He added that while the overall message was alarming, there were things that people could do, such as making their gardens more insect friendly, not using pesticides and buying organic food.

While some of our most important insect species are in retreat, the review also finds that a small number of species are likely to be able to adapt to changing conditions and do well. Based on the findings of the report, Statista has drawn up this handy - and, frankly, worrying - infographic of insects and their percentage decline over the past decade.

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