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What happens to the natural world if all the insects disappear?

There are an awful lot of insects. It's hard to say exactly how many because 80% haven't yet been described by taxonomists, but there are probably about 5.5m species. Put that number together with other kinds of animals with exoskeletons and jointed legs, known collectively as arthropods – this includes mites, spiders and woodlice – and there are probably about 7m species in all.  Despite their ubiquity in the animal kingdom, a recent report warned of a "bugpocalypse", as surveys indicated that insects everywhere are declining at an alarming rate. This could mean the extinction of 40% of the world's insect species over the next few decades.  What is particularly worrying is that we don't know exactly why populations are declining.  Read more...

 

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