Earth threatened as insects decrease

Earth threatened as insects decrease
A wasp in a paddy field in Pongkor, West Java. (Indonesia Window)

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Insects are mostly known as annoying animals.

In fact, these relatively small-sized animals have an important role on Earth. Without its presence, the Earth could be threatened.

The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) stated, so far only 20 percent of the 5.5 million species of insects in the world have been identified.

Meanwhile, 80 percent of the insect population continues to decrease.

In 2017, Caspar Hallmann of Radboud University, the Netherlands found the population of flying insects in German nature reserves declined by more than 75 percent over the past 27 years.

Other researchers, Bayo and Wyckhuys, reported that the decline in the population of insects still occur even in the untouched nature reserve.

Impact

The decreasing number of insects will greatly affect the safety of the Earth as these animals along with plants are the basic building blocks of life.

Insects are pollinators, pest controllers, waste management agents, and decomposers. In addition, insects are food for other animals.

“Imagine if an insect became extinct. Many bodies would be accumulated and not decomposed,” Djunijanti Peggie, an entomologist at the LIPI’s Biology Research Center, said, adding that the declining of insect population was clearly visible.

“The main causes of declining are land use conversion, climate change, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, as well as biological factors including pathogens and invasive species,” Peggie noted.

For instance, Graphium codrus butterfly which appeared on the cover photo of the National Grographic Indonesia magazine in May 2020 is not an endemic Indonesian butterfly, not rare and not endangered.

“Even with the status of not endemic, not rare, and not endangered, the number of Graphium codrus specimens in Bogor Zoologicum Museum is only 21 from four sub species,” Peggie said.

This shows that finding the rare butterfly is quite difficult.

In addition, recording and preserving such endemic and rare species as Ornithoptera croesus found in North Maluku is also challenging. Moreover, this species was just included in the list of protected species in Indonesia in 2018.

“I agree and worry about the apocalypse of insects,” Peggie said, adding that so far there have not been seen any species of insects that are threatened.

Collecting data in detail is needed before setting which species is prioritized to be protected.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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