Insects outnumber all species on Earth — some beetle groups are as old as dinosaurs

Source: The post is based on the article Insects outnumber all species on Earth — some beetle groups are as old as dinosaurspublished in TOI on 20th August 2022.

What is the News?

This article discusses how insects evolved over 300 million years and why these are ‘Earth’s primary engineers’.

Why are Insects important?
Insects on Earth
Source: TOI

Insects outnumber all species on Earth — some beetle groups are as old as dinosaurs

Insects pollinate plants. They are responsible for the food of the world. Insects also recycle perished material. 

One can take away all the birds and mammals but Earth would still have productive crops as long as there are insects. Hence, insects are called as the primary engineers of our planet. 

Insects also outnumber all other species on Earth — of the million and a half knew organisms on the planet, over a million are insects. They weigh as much as all the other species put together — they are the majority of Earth’s biomass. 

Which are the largest group of insects?
Insects on Earth
Source: TOI

Beetles are the largest group of all insects — about one of every four animals is a beetle as are around 30% of all insects. These include parasites, pollinators, plantconsumers, insect-eaters, etc. 

Are human actions impacting Insects?

There is sizable research on ‘insect armageddon’ or the disappearance of insects from Earth. 

Data shows a fraction of insects is around now compared to the numbers forty years ago. This is deeply worrying — if insects were to disappear, we wouldn’t know what to do or how to bring them back. 

Moreover, insects which have evolved over millions of years are now the first indicator of how much the environment is suffering from human impacts.

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