Beetles occur throughout the forests, and hundreds of species have been found on tropical rainforest trees. Some species damage trees, while many are beneficial. Photo by Maya Walters.
|Dinosaurs became extinct around 65 million years ago, but insects have survived on earth for over 300 million years. Millions of species of these tiny creatures exist, and neither dinosaurs or humans could have lived without them. For every individual person alive today, there are about 200 million individual insects, and if they were to suddenly vanish from the earth, humans could not survive more than a few weeks.|
Why are these tiny, and unpopular, animals so important? Their place low in the food chain and their position as the most abundant group of pollinators make them vital to both plants and other animals. Also, without insects, piles of dead organic matter, which can't be decomposed by fungi alone, would build up. Large numbers of some insects, such as bark beetles, can damage forests, but many more species are beneficial.
[forests through time] [pollen] [fungi]
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