From National Gepgraphic “The term “endangered species” typically conjures up images of charismatic animals—tigers, pandas, orangutans, whales, condors. But a new study says that the vast majority of species on the verge of extinction is in fact humble insects.
The study estimates that up to 44,000 bugs of all varieties could have been wiped off the face of the Earth during the last 600 years. And hundreds of thousands more insect species could be lost over the next 50 years. Only about 70 insect extinctions have been documented since the 15th century, possibly because many insects have been poorly studied.”
The truth is that more often than not it is the small seemingly insignificant organisms that are the most important. Insects, fungus, algae, bacteria, are all usually more ecologically important than large majestic animals like whales or the giant panda. It is very difficult to get funding to study organisms that are not large and charismatic, so most of these incredible important species go understudies.
17,000 and 100,000 species go extinct every year, very few of these are species which the public cares about, but their roles in various ecosystems cannot be denied.
Current extinction levels are the highest since 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs went extinct: the last mass extinction event. Many ecologists are now saying that we are currently in the middle of the sixth mass extinction event, and the loss of biodiversity threatens our very survival.
The loss of biodiversity must be slowed, but we cannot forget the seemingly insignificant species, as they are usually the most important.