Common insect species are suffering the biggest losses

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Insect populations with the steepest abundance declines included predatory beetl
Insect populations with the steepest abundance declines included predatory beetles. Image: J. Lindsey

Small Tortoiseshell butterflies (Aglais urticae) are an example of a species with formerly high local abundances that has declined in number.

Insect decline is being driven by losses among the locally more common species, according to a new study published in "Nature". Led by researchers at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research Halle-Jena-Leipzig (iDiv), the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the meta-analysis of 923 locations around the world notes two significant trends: 1) the species with the most individuals (the highest abundance) are disproportionately decreasing in number, and 2) no other species have increased to the high numbers previously seen. ...

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