Biological Collapse

grarpamp grarpamp at
Sun May 21 15:24:55 PDT 2017

Scientists have tracked alarming declines in domesticated honey bees,
monarch butterflies, and lightning bugs. But few have paid attention
to the moths, hover flies, beetles, and countless other insects that
buzz and flitter through the warm months. "We have a pretty good track
record of ignoring most noncharismatic species," which most insects
are, says Joe Nocera, an ecologist at the University of New Brunswick
in Canada. [...] A new set of long-term data is coming to light, this
time from a dedicated group of mostly amateur entomologists who have
tracked insect abundance at more than 100 nature reserves in western
Europe since the 1980s. Over that time the group, the Krefeld
Entomological Society, has seen the yearly insect catches fluctuate,
as expected. But in 2013 they spotted something alarming. When they
returned to one of their earliest trapping sites from 1989, the total
mass of their catch had fallen by nearly 80%. Perhaps it was a
particularly bad year, they thought, so they set up the traps again in
2014. The numbers were just as low. Through more direct comparisons,
the group -- which had preserved thousands of samples over 3 decades
-- found dramatic declines across more than a dozen other sites. Such
losses reverberate up the food chain. "If you're an insect-eating bird
living in that area, four-fifths of your food is gone in the last
quarter-century, which is staggering," says Dave Goulson, an ecologist
at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, who is working with
the Krefeld group to analyze and publish some of the data. "One almost
hopes that it's not representative -- that it's some strange

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