Insect Armageddon!!?

‘Insectageddon!’ ‘The Great Insect Die Off!’

‘Mass Insect Extinction!’

Photo of two Lord Howe Island insects. IMAGE: THE LORD HOWE ISLAND STICK INSECT, WAS THOUGHT TO BE WIPED OUT BY RATS, BUT IT’S BACK! (MUSEUMS VICTORIA, CC BY. PHOTOGRAPHER: RODNEY START ) Photo of black and orange yellow ladybug on a plant IMAGE: THE LOST AND FOUND LADYBEETLE, MICRASPIS FLAVOVITTATA. (PHOTO BY REINER RICHTER. COURTESY OF MUSEUMS VICTORIA.) So screamed recent headlines.

But are the world’s insects in trouble…or not?

And how can we know, when we know so little about them?

We desperately need invertebrates, but do they need us?

Photo of Dr Ken Walker in front of a microscope surrounded by drawers of bugs IMAGE: DR KEN WALKER MANAGES A COLLECTION OF OVER 2.5 MILLION INSECTS AND OTHER SPECIMENS. (MUSEUMS VICTORIA) Old photo of Ken on a car roof reaching up into the sky with a long, long net on the end of a rod IMAGE: DR KEN WALKER IN THE FIELD COLLECTING BEES IN CAPE YORK PENINSULA. (COURTESY OF MUSEUMS VICTORIA) Did you know? It is estimated there are 5.5 million insect species, both known and unknown, not including other arthropods. But only approximately one million insect species are actually known and described.

Source: Stork, N. How Many Species of Insects and Other Terrestrial Arthropods Are There on Earth?; Annual Review of Entomology; Vol. 63:31-45, September 2017

GUESTS

Dr Caspar Hallman Institute for Water and Wetland Research Radboud University Nijmegen The Netherlands Professor Ary Hoffmann School of BioSciences Bio21 Institute University of Melbourne Dr Manu Saunders University of New England Dr Ken Walker Senior Curator of Entomology Melbourne Museum Museums Victoria

MORE INFO

Manu’s blog, Ecology is Not a Dirty Word

The Wild Pollinator Count – get involved!

More than 75 Percent of Decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas Hallmann et al, PLoS ONE 12(10), 2017

Minibeast Heroes

Credits

PresenterNatasha Mitchell ProducerNatasha Mitchell/ Maria Tickle