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Insects and other arthropods

Environmental quality indicators

Lycaenidae, Québec, Canada.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (Gilles Murray)
Lycaenidae, Québec, Canada.
  • Lycaenidae, Québec, Canada.
  • Erythemis mithroides, Mexico.
  • Mayfly, or shadfly, Québec, Canada.

Insects react intensely to disturbances in their living environment that are the result of pollution, among other things, or natural phenomena such as frost, flood and drought. This is why certain species of insects are used as biological indicators. Bio-indicator species provide valuable information about environmental quality, as sudden changes to the environment often cause their populations to increase or decline.

Recent studies on the decline of biodiversity in the world highlight the destruction of habitats and the extinction of many different species. This process is normal and is part of evolution. However, it is currently happening at a rate that is 100 to 1,000 quicker than the normal rate. The balance between living beings and their natural environment has been affected more strongly than ever before.

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