An insect apocalypse will be everyone's apocalypse

As insects disappear, plants everywhere experience a diminution in natural pollination. Without these critical species, the basic reproduction of these plants would be compromised and, for many, would grind to a halt.
As insects disappear, plants everywhere experience a diminution in natural pollination. Without these critical species, the basic reproduction of these plants would be compromised and, for many, would grind to a halt.PHOTO: ZESTIN SOH, NPARKS

The National Butterfly Centre in Mission, Texas, encompasses some 40 hectares of subtropical bush land along the banks of the Rio Grande. It's a refuge for more than 200 species of pollinating butterflies, as well as thousands of other species - flowers, birds, mammals and countless other insects.

The Trump administration's plan to build a border wall through the sanctuary will effectively destroy it. But such a loss will strike many as insignificant. Butterflies - so graceful and frail - seem almost a luxury rather than a necessity. Surely, the disappearance of a few more won't make any difference in the long run?

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2019, with the headline 'An insect apocalypse will be everyone's apocalypse'. Print Edition | Subscribe