Danes wanted to count insects

Stephen Gadd
April 25th, 2018

This article is more than 5 years old.

A number of European countries are experiencing declines in insect populations – with all that entails for the natural cycle

An overview of insects in the Danish countryside is badly needed if we are to reverse the decline (photo: pxhere)

The Natural History Museum has launched a project to map the diversity and range of insects across the country called Insektmobilen.

Volunteers are being sought to help researchers gather concrete evidence on how much insect decline there is in Denmark, reports TV2 Nyheder.

READ ALSO: Danish biologist alarmed: Insects dying off in droves in Germany

Similar research projects abroad, most recently in France, have revealed that a fall in the number of insects has had significant effects on bird life.

The birds and the bees
Figures from the Danish ornithological society earlier this year revealed that nearly 3 million birds have disappeared from arable land over the last 40 years.

“We hope a lot of people will want to be involved because we are dependent on contributions from all over the country,” said Anders P Tøttrup, an adjunct professor who is one of the researchers behind the project.

People can sign up through a Facebook page or via the Natural History Museum’s website and they will then be sent all the equipment they need to participate in the project. Among other things, this consists of a special net that can easily be mounted on the roof of a car.

The project will run during June this year and again next year. The researchers hope that at least 300 volunteers will take part.

“There’s never been a project quite like this before. We expect that there are both fewer species and fewer individuals of each type than in the past,” said Tøttrup.

A Europe-wide problem
Another project involving insect counting was started in Denmark in spring this year. This involves volunteers counting the number of squashed insects on their windscreens and reporting the total to the insectcount.dk website.

Anders Pape Møller, a professor at Université Paris-Sud in France, is behind this. Previously, he has studied swallows and insects in northern Jutland and found a 70 percent decline in the number of insects from 1996 to 2017.

This accords with figures revealed by a German study last year. The density of flying insects in the German countryside had fallen by 76 percent since 1989.


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