A new in German study published in the journal, Nature, confirms that some insect species are being pushed to the brink of extinction!

Invertebrates make up 97% of the Earth’s animal species [1] and range in size from microscopic mites and almost invisible flies to giant squids with football sized eyes. Invertebrates are the most diverse group of animals and so far around 1.25 million invertebrate species have been described, most of which are insects. Indeed, every day new invertebrate species are being described by morphological and molecular data [4].

The success of insects comes from their ability to reproduce quickly and their adaptability to environmental change.

Despite this, more than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered worldwide – with an extinction rate eight time faster than that of birds, mammals and reptiles!

New research has found insect and spider populations to be declining rapidly in forests and grasslands across Germany, scientists describe these findings as ‘alarming’ [3]. This study confirms the decline of
insect populations not only in intensively managed areas, but also in protected areas and it is apparent that the areas we consider to be safeguarded with respect to our biodiversity are not delivering.

Globally, 41% of insects have declined over the past decade [4]. In Britain, scientists noted that areas inhabited by common insects (bees, beetles, butterflies and wasps) saw a 30-60% decline over the last 40 years, with butterflies having experienced some of the greatest losses. In England alone, butterfly species fell by 58% between 2000 and 2009 across farmlands [5].

It is apparent that invertebrates are not so resilient after all and the International Union of Conservation Nature shows their widespread losses are mainly driven by intensive agriculture, pesticides, urbanisation and climate change.

Invertebrates play an important role in ecosystem functioning and provide us with enormous benefits such as pollination and pest control for crops, decomposition for nutrient cycling, water filtration and human health [2].

Let’s appreciate all critters great and small and not let them go extinct quietly!

Check out the original article at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-50226367

Here at chXout we carry about species identification for all plants, animals and fungi by DNA barcoding.


[1] Ceballos, G., García, A., & Ehrlich, P. R. (2010). The sixth extinction crisis: loss of animal populations and species. Journal of Cosmology8(1821), 31.

[2] Kur, J., Mioduchowska, M., & Petković, M. (2016). Trying to solve current issues with invertebrate taxonomy–the conceptual web-based application. World Scientific News57, 664-673.

[3] https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1684-3

[4] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.01.020

[5] https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1402

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