The importance of Insects

‘The vast majority of living animals are invertebrates, with insects comprising the largest group of invertebrates. Yet, with few exceptions, the conservation of invertebrates has received very little attention, although their conservation is vital. Invertebrates are involved in virtually all of the major ecological processes and are critical in maintaining functioning ecosystems. Invertebrates are major predators of plants, themselves provide food for many animals, are important in decomposition for nutrient cycling, and in plant pollination, seed dispersal, harvesting and germination. Invertebrates provide food for, and products used by humans, are crucial in human food production, and have a largely unrealised potential in biotechnology.’ (DSE 2009, Advisory List of Threatened Invertebrate Fauna in Victoria)

ECB and other Invertebrates can be abundant in a very small area, experience large fluctuations in numbers in different parts of their life cycles or between seasons, and some have complex life cycles involving several distinctly different stages. Considering the degree of habitat loss and modification in Victoria, there are likely to be many more threatened invertebrates than indicated by this List. (Advisory list for invertebrates 2009)

Only about one-third of the estimated number of invertebrate species have not been described.

Some important functions of insects, to name a few:

  • Decomposition: Nutrient cycling, soil conditioning and aeration.
  • Pollination: 65-80% of the planets flowering plants are insect pollinated
  • Human Food:
  • Pest Control: Natural biological control: Through feeding and parasitising; ladybirds, lacewings and parasitic wasps
  • Seed dispersal
  • COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS; silk, Cotton, Dyes, Honey, Beeswax, Varnish.
  • Medicine and Biotechnology
  • Food source for other animals: They are an integral part of the food web (everything eats them)
  • AESTHETICS; Imagine a world without butterflies!