German entomology enthusiasts: The bugs are facing extinction

German entomology enthusiasts: The bugs are facing extinction
Rusty patch bumblebee. Coming soon to a back yard near you? YouTube, bioGraphic video

[Ed. – Oh, buzz off.]

For almost 30 years they passed as quirky eccentrics, diligently setting up their insect traps in the Rhine countryside to collect tens of millions of bugs and creepy crawlers.

Now the group of German entomology enthusiasts can boast a world-class scientific treasure: evidence of what is described as one of Earth’s worst extinction phases since the dinosaurs vanished.

Insects, which comprise two thirds of all terrestrial species, have been dying off at alarming rates, with disastrous impacts on food chains and habitats, researchers say.

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“Since 1982, the traps we manufacture ourselves have been standardised and controlled, all of the same size and the same material, and they are collected at the same rate in 63 locations that are still identical,” explains Sorg. …

But if he is visibly proud of the society’s research, the outcome terrifies him: in the test period, the total biomass of flying insects here has plummeted by 76 percent.

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