20% of all invertebrates close to extinction

by | 12th September 2012

Schoenherr’s blue weevil (Eupholus schoenherri) a spectacular blue and turquoise beetle from Indonesian New Guinea. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

Twenty percent of all invertebrates are found to be threatened with extinction, according to a new IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) report.

  • Invertebrates make up 97 percent of the entire World’s species and include insects, molluscs, squid and jellyfish among many others.
  • In terms of conservation, the invertebrates are never in the ‘limelight’ and often take a back seat to larger, more recognizable species such as pandas, tigers and elephants.
  • However, invertebrates are arguably the most important creatures to conserve as they are vitally important in maintaining a healthy and productive environment; they pollinate flowers, recycle waste, cultivate soils and have many other benefits too.
  • There are over 1.3 million invertebrate species currently known. 10,000 new species are found every year.
  • The report concentrates on the 12,621 invertebrate species that have currently been assessed by the IUCN (which only represents about 1 percent of all invertebrates known). It is believed to be the most complete and detailed assessment of invertebrates ever.
  • The numbers are so few due to the lack of information on many of the invertebrates but scientists hope to increase them in the future.
  • The report found that around 20 percent of all the invertebrates assessed were threatened with extinction, the greatest risk being found in freshwater invertebrates.
  • It is extremely important that all the information possible is gathered on the world’s invertebrates in order to fully understand the threats they face. Invertebrates are hugely important to all life on Earth so conserving them really does matter.

Want to learn more?  Read the full story: Biodiversity faltering: 20% of invertebrates threatened with extinction

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