Bears and Bugs

The troubles of the polar bear are a great symbol of the effects global warming can have on the Earth’s mightiest creatures. The polar bear seems strong not only because of its size, but because of its ability to subsist in the harsh conditions of the Arctic. Now, as the ice disappears, so do the bears. But a new study points out that there are other species facing climate-related troubles. The Independent reported on a recent study that suggests the polar bear is not the species most threatened by a warming climate, and in fact, it is nearly the opposite type of animal.

Small, frail and subsisting in warm areas, insects in tropical climates are imminently threatened by rising temperatures. The survival of these insects is not only important for the sake of their own survival; they are essential to the survival of their entire habitat. When insect species disappear from the planet, the foundation of the food chain becomes damaged, and when foundations crumble, structures collapse. Insects also provide services like decomposition and pollination that keep the life-cycle moving, and without them, many other plant and animal species will be under extreme pressure for their survival.

Even though they are not cuddly or famous for their hugs, these species require attention. Insects are particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation and act as indicators. If they cannot adapt, this does not bode well for the other planetary inhabitants.