Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review. More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. […]

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US plan to genetically alter crops via insects feared to be biological war plan

Government-backed researchers in America are aiming to use virus-carrying insects to genetically engineer crops – raising fears the technology could be used for biological weapons. A new article in the journal Science explores the shadowy program funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa). The program aims to disperse infectious, genetically modified viruses […]

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How “insect soup” might change the face of conservation

Much of what we know about patterns of biodiversity has come from extensive fieldwork, with expert researchers sampling and identifying species in a process that takes thousands of man-hours. But new technologies may revolutionize this process, allowing us to monitor changes in biodiversity at speeds and scales unimaginable just a decade ago. A new paper […]

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UK’s rare spring butterflies make a late show

The UK’s spring butterflies are being welcomed by enthusiasts, but weeks later than they usually arrive. The second-coldest March on record contributed to the delayed emergence of many rare species, according to the charity Butterfly Conservation. “First sightings” recorded by the public showed the insects typically appeared a fortnight later than normal. One rare species […]

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Goodness knows

Kindergarteners swarmed around the khaki-clad naturalist, squealing with excitement, shouting out questions and jockeying for a better view.The adult volunteers on this field trip were a tougher audience. “I’m glad they’re having fun but I don’t see why anyone should care about some bug,” one 30-something mom confided to another, adding, “What good is it, […]

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