Brazilian beetles threatened by climate change


This 2014 video says about itself:

Macraspis bivittata (Scarabaeidae – Rutelinae – Rutelini) scarabs or scarab beetles, Santo Amaro da Imperatriz, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

From the University of York in England:

Tropical beetles face extinction threat

October 17, 2017

Climate change is putting many tropical high altitude beetles at risk of extinction, warn an international team of scientists.

Research by the University of York, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and the Federal University of Goiás has found that two plant-eating beetle groups — weevils and leaf beetles — are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

The researchers surveyed a number of insect groups at different altitudes in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, an area known for its high diversity of plant and animal species.

They found that a large proportion of species, mostly from the diverse herbivorous beetle groups, are only found at higher altitude. This puts these species at high risk of extinction as they have nowhere to go when the climate gets warmer.

Dr Peter Mayhew, of the University of York’s Department of Biology, one of the investigators, said: “Previous research has shown that species are moving uphill as the climate warms and that tropical mountain species may be particularly vulnerable because they will become restricted to smaller and smaller areas in a warming planet.

“Our study showed that the most diverse herbivorous beetle groups — the weevils and leaf beetles — are highly specialised to high altitudes, which means their favoured temperatures may disappear in a warmer world. This puts them at high risk of extinction.”

The study was carried out in the Serra dos Órgãos National Park in the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and the results published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity.

Insects make up the most diverse group of species in rainforests, but until now little was known about how various insects might be affected by climate change.

Professor Margarete Macedo, one of the research leaders at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), said: “Almost nothing is known about elevational specialisation in tropical rainforest insects and our aim was to see how different insect groups varied. This in turn may indicate their risk of extinction from climate change.”

The researchers sampled 697 species of insects, using many different trapping techniques such as sticky traps, pitfall traps and tent-like ‘Malaise’ traps. They discovered that 32 per cent of the species sampled were only found in the highest vegetation zones.

Dr Vivian Flinte, from UFRJ, did much of the collecting, sorting and identification. She said: “It has been a huge team effort over many years to get the data we have now, but we have only just skimmed the surface of what is out there.”

Dr Mayhew added: “Even though the area we studied is in a national park, the species in it are not protected from climate change. Because most of these species are poorly known, their extinction may largely go undocumented, but we will have lost them nonetheless. It makes it all the more important to limit future climate change as much as possible.”

6 thoughts on “Brazilian beetles threatened by climate change

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  3. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/climate-change-on-track-to-cause-major-insect-wipeout-scientists-warn_us_5b02da6ee4b0463cdba49824
    >
    > Climate Change On Track To Cause Major Insect Wipeout, Scientists Warn
    > Insects are vital to ecosystems but will lose almost half their habitat under current climate projections.
    >
    >
    >
    > This story was produced and originally published by The Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
    >
    > Global warming is on track to cause a major wipeout of insects, compounding already severe losses, according to a new analysis.
    >
    > Insects are vital to most ecosystems and a widespread collapse would cause extremely far-reaching disruption to life on Earth, the scientists warn. Their research shows that, even with all the carbon cuts already pledged by nations so far, climate change would make almost half of insect habitat unsuitable by the end of the century, with pollinators like bees particularly affected.
    >
    > However, if climate change could be limited to a temperature rise of 1..5C – the very ambitious goal included in the global Paris agreement – the losses of insects are far lower.
    >
    > The new research is the most comprehensive to date, analysing the impact of different levels of climate change on the ranges of 115,000 species. It found plants are also heavily affected but that mammals and birds, which can more easily migrate as climate changes, suffered less.
    >
    > “We showed insects are the most sensitive group,” said Prof Rachel Warren, at the University of East Anglia, who led the new work.. “They are important because ecosystems cannot function without insects.. They play an absolutely critical role in the food chain.”
    >
    > “The disruption to our ecosystems if we were to lose that high proportion of our insects would be extremely far-reaching and widespread,” she said. “People should be concerned – humans depend on ecosystems functioning.” Pollination, fertile soils, clean water and more all depend on healthy ecosystems, Warren said.
    >
    > In October, scientists warned of “ecological Armageddon” after discovering that the number of flying insects had plunged by three-quarters in the past 25 years in Germany and very likely elsewhere.
    >
    > “We know that many insects are in rapid decline due to factors such as habitat loss and intensive farming methods,” said Prof Dave Goulson, at the University of Sussex, UK, and not part of the new analysis. “This new study shows that, in the future, these declines would be hugely accelerated by the impacts of climate change, under realistic climate projections. When we add in all the other adverse factors affecting wildlife, all likely to increase as the human population grows, the future for biodiversity on planet Earth looks bleak.”
    >
    >
    > This New World
    >
    > The current capitalist system is broken. Get updates on our progress toward building a fairer world.
    >
    > In the new analysis, published in the journal Science , the researchers gathered data on the geographic ranges and current climate conditions of 31,000 insect species, 8,000 birds, 1,700 mammals, 1,800 reptiles, 1,000 amphibians and 71,000 plants.
    >
    > They then calculated how the ranges change when global warming means some regions can no longer support particular species. For the first time in this type of study, they included the 1.5C Paris target, as well as 2C, the longstanding international target, and 3.2C, which is the rise the world will experience by 2100 unless action is taken beyond that already pledged.
    >
    > The researchers measured the results in two ways. First, they counted the number of species that lose more than half their range and this was 49 percent of insect species at 3.2C, falling to 18 percent at 2C and 6 percent at 1..5C. Second, they combined the losses for each species group into a type of average measure.
    >
    > “If you are a typical insect, you would be likely to lose 43 percent of your range at 3.2C,” Warren said. “We also found that the three major groups of insects responsible for pollination are particularly sensitive to warming.”
    >
    > Guy Midgley, at University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and not part of the research team, said the new work built on previous studies but is far more comprehensive. He said major impacts on wildlife would be expected given the potential scale of climate change: “Global average surface temperatures in the past two million years have rarely approached the levels projected over the next few decades.”
    >
    > Warren said the new work had taken account of the ability of species to migrate, but had not been able to include the impact of lost interactions between species as ranges contract, or of the impacts of more extreme weather events on wildlife. As both of those would increase the losses of range, Warren said the estimates of losses made were likely to be underestimates..
    >
    > Warren said that the world’s nations were aware that more action on climate change is needed: “The question is to what extent greater reductions can be made and on what timescale. That is a decision society has to make.”
    >
    > Another study published in Science on Thursday found that one third of the world’s protected areas, which cover 15 percent of all land, are now highly degraded by intense human pressure including road building, grazing, and urbanisation.
    >
    > Kendall Jones, at the University of Queensland, Australia, who led the work, said: “A well-run protected area network is essential in saving species. If we allow our protected area network to be degraded there is a no doubt biodiversity losses will be exacerbated.”

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