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Several species of insects have almost completely vanished from some tropical forests

first_imgJ & E/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Insects and other arthropods have declined by up to 99% over 4 decades in a Puerto Rican forest, apparently because of climate change, according to new study. And that’s not the only bad news.Previously, most insect declines have been documented in temperate ecosystems and blamed on habitat destruction, insecticides, and climate change. In 1976–77, one of the authors of the new study surveyed insects and other arthropods—such as millipedes and pillbugs—in the protected Luquillo rainforest of Puerto Rico with sticky traps and nets. He returned several times between 2011 and 2013 to see how the populations were faring. The weight of arthropods collected in traps on the ground was 97% less than before, he and a colleague report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The 10 most common species living in the forest canopy also declined, as did the population of walking stick insects (photo).Something similar happened in the Chamela forest of Mexico when the two researchers compared the abundance of arthropods in 2014 with their previous survey in 1987–88. Meanwhile, the average maximum daily temperatures in the Puerto Rican forest have risen 2°C, and by 2.4°C in the Mexican forest. Ecologists know excessive heat can harm animals, especially those that have evolved to live in relatively constant tropical temperatures. Several species of insects have almost completely vanished from some tropical forests By Erik StokstadOct. 15, 2018 , 3:00 PM Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The damage hasn’t been limited to arthropods. As their biomass declined in Puerto Rico, so did numbers of animals that eat them. In their study of the Luquillo forest, the researchers found that the average density of anole lizards fell by half, for example, and they note that others have found that the more a bird species depends on insects, the harder it has become to find. Indeed, the population of the Puerto Rican tody, a bird that eats only insects, has dropped by 90% between 1990 and 2015. The researchers say climate change, by driving down arthropod populations, could disrupt tropical forests even more than previously thought.last_img

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