Where Have All the Insects Gone?

For many of us, engaging with insects doesn’t extend much beyond swatting away flies and mosquitoes, or calling on bigger and braver friends to deposit unwanted “visitors” outside. And yet, as E.O. Wilson observed, it is we who are the visitors in “a primarily invertebrate world.” In fact, humankind “depends so completely on these little creatures that run the earth.” But recent evidence shows a startling decline in insect numbers, with some insects facing the threat of extinction. This paints a worrying picture given insects’ vital role in ecosystem services, such as decomposing matter, maintaining insect populations, or as a food source for other species.

Our new blog series, “Silent Spring Continued: A World without Insects?,” reflects on the importance of our winged and multi-legged companions, and the bleak prospect of an existence without them. Scholars and practitioners from diverse fields, as well as engaged members of the public, share stories about their connections with insects from a global perspective, rooted in local experiences.

(All images are in the public domain, from the Insects Unlocked project, via Flickr.)

Our first set of upcoming contributions includes an interview with chief moth expert Andreas Segerer, and reflections on insect loss by research associate Ernst-Gerhard Burmeister, both entomologists at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks and months for stories of love and loss, of disappearance and survival, of despair and hope.

If you have a story to share, consider submitting a contribution—the full call is available here.

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