Vanishing act: Why insects are declining and why it matters

Categories: Big picture
Published on: July 10, 2016

Yale E360 / Christian Schwägerl / 06 July 2016

invertebrate populationsA 2014 study in Science documented a steep drop in insect and invertebrate populations worldwide. By combining data from the few comprehensive studies that exist, lead author Rodolfo Dirzo, an ecologist at Stanford University, developed a global index for invertebrate abundance that showed a 45 percent decline over the last four decades. Dirzo points out that out of 3,623 terrestrial invertebrate species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] Red List, 42 percent are classified as threatened with extinction.

“Although invertebrates are the least well-evaluated faunal groups within the IUCN database, the available information suggests a dire situation in many parts of the world,” says Dirzo.