Global insect populations declining at alarming rate

An article in PNAS has highlighted research from around the world that has found that insect populations are declining significantly.

Research from 2014 estimated that in the last 35 years, populations of insects such as beetles and bees have decreased by 45%, and that the number of insects in Europe is in rapid decline. In a separate study published in 2017, flying insect numbers in German nature reserves were found to have decreased by 76% over 27 years.

This new research focused on data on the abundance of arthropod and insectivore life from two mid-elevation habitats in Puerto Rico’s Luquillo rainforest taken between 1976 and 2012.

The Washington Post quoted a researcher from the University of Connecticut who was not involved with this research, David Wagner, whose work focuses on invertebrate conservation.

“This is one of the most disturbing articles I have ever read,” Wagner stated. He said that the PNAS study is a wake-up call that the phenomenon could be much bigger, and across many more ecosystems.

Wagner said that the gravity of the researchers’ findings for other animals is “hyperalarming” and that, if anything, he believes the researchers’ results are understated.

Now read: Scientists turning dragonflies into genetically-engineered drones

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Global insect populations declining at alarming rate