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Insects and other arthropods

Ecological roles of insects

Silkworms are important insects for the textile industry.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (Marika D'Eschambeault)
Breeding of silkworms, Vietnam.
  • Breeding of silkworms, Vietnam.
  • Formicidae, Québec, Canada.
  • Danaus plexippus plexippus, Québec, Canada.

Insects and other arthropods perform a number of services, many of which we don’t even know about. If they disappeared tomorrow, our lives would be turned upside down! Without them, the web of life would be drastically altered and the effects on the environment and humanity would be disastrous. Here are a few examples: Many plants would no longer be pollinated, and all kinds of animals (fish, birds and mammals) would be without food. The recycling of nutrients in the soil would be strongly altered.

In 2006, American researchers evaluated the monetary value of services rendered by insects, including pest control, pollination, food for animals and waste decomposition. According to them, in the United States alone, these services were equivalent to more than $57 billion.

Our well-being depends on saving insects. We must learn to see these tiny creatures in a new light, get to know them better and become aware of their ecological roles and the benefits they provide.

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