Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Extinct Species Take Others Along, Study Finds

WASHINGTON - More than 6,000 species of butterflies and other insects, as well as mites, fungi and assorted unloved but important species, will also be wiped out when listed endangered species go extinct, scientists said.

"We estimate that 6,300 affiliate species are 'coendangered' with host species currently listed as endangered," an international team of researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Science.

"Up to 50 percent of species are predicted to be lost in the next 50 years," they added. "Current extinction estimates need to be recalibrated by taking species coextinctions into account."

The team, led by Lian Pin Koh and Navjot Sodhi of the National University of Singapore, compiled a list of 12,200 plants and animals currently listed as threatened or endangered. They then looked at insects, mites, fungi and other organisms that are uniquely adapted to some of the species.

"What we found is that with the extinction of a bird, or a mammal or a plant, you aren't just necessarily wiping out just one, single species," said Heather Proctor from the University of Alberta in Canada, who also worked on the study.

"We're also allowing all these unsung dependent species to be wiped out as well."

For example, a vine that became locally extinct in Singapore took along with it a species of butterfly, Parantica aspasia, that was dependent on the vine for survival.

"When we lose this vine, this beautiful butterfly dies off with it, and we'll never see it again except in photographs at museums," said Proctor.

"While coextinction may not be the most important cause of species extinctions, it is certainly an insidious one," the researchers added.

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.

Tags:  

Resilience Roundup - Mar 27

We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, as our …

Towards the Permacene

We can take the next step in our evolution, a step towards the Permacene.

Announcing AFTERBURN: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels

Afterburn is a book of “greatest hits”, similar in that respect …

NERT-ing Out with the New England Resilience & Transition Network

On Saturday, March 21, fifty organizers and activists from all six New …

A Day in the Life of America’s Most Walkable Suburb

Suburban life has always been synonymous with long hours in the car-- going …

Planet of the Space Bats

As my regular readers know, I’ve been talking for quite a while now …

This Changes Everything. So Now What?

Missing from the conversation are ideas that are both practical and radical.