Since the mid-1990s, populations of the common Japanese dragonfly Sympetrum frequens in rice fields have declined severely. Application of systemic insecticides—especially fipronil—to nursery boxes of rice seedlings is suspected to be the main cause of the decline. However, until now there have been insufficient population data to test the causality. We conducted a dragonfly survey from 2009 to 2016 in four prefectures of Japan and compiled the data to enable the comparison of population growth rates along five main census routes over the years.
Short-term peaks of contaminant concentrations and flows go undetected at many minesites. Recent biological studies have shown that short peaks can contribute significantly to toxicity due to aspects like damage per unit of time, accumulating damage through time, damage at any concentration, temporally aligned or offset synergistic and antagonistic interactions, and slowly reversible or non-reversible uptake and binding of some metals and other elements.
Since 2013, a European Union (EU) moratorium has restricted the application of three neonicotinoids to crops that attract bees because of the harmful effects they are deemed to have on these insects. Yet researchers from the CNRS, INRA, and the Institut de l'Abeille (ITSAP) have just demonstrated that residues of these insecticides -- and especially of imidacloprid -- can still be detected in rape nectar from 48% of the plots of studied fields, their concentrations varying greatly over the years.
Neonicotinoid insecticides, also known as neonics, are doing more than killing bees and other insects in record numbers, according to a report issued last month by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an international environmental advocacy group. Neonics, the council says, are contaminating New York State’s soil and water and “hollowing out ecosystems from the bottom up.”
The emergence of Hexagenia limbata mayflies, throughout the Great Lakes and parts of the mid-Atlantic region, is nearly a religious event in angling circles. Each year in early June, these enormous mayflies blanket the landscape, emerging by the billions each night, smothering waterways, riverbanks, roadways and more with thousands of tons of trout-candy biomass. Not long ago, these historic and essential emergences were almost wiped out. By 1970, Hexagenia were gone from large swaths of the Midwest.
Pesticiden kunnen schadelijk zijn voor mens en milieu, maar het is de Europese Unie de afgelopen tien jaar nauwelijks gelukt de risico’s terug te dringen. Ook schiet de handhaving ernstig tekort. Boerenbedrijven in overtreding worden nauwelijks of niet beboet. Dat concludeert de Europese Rekenkamer in een rapport. Het onderzoek van de Rekenkamer vond plaats in Nederland, Frankrijk en Litouwen.
The May 2019 newsletter of the Saitama Ecosystem Conservation Society describes how, before the introduction of neonicotinoids in the 1990s, numberless brilliant red akiakane or autumn darter dragonflies could be seen around rice fields in the fall. Experiments by Japanese dragonfly expert Tetsuyuki Ueda of Ishikawa Prefectural University showed how the pesticides reduced the number of surviving dragonfly nymphs to a small fraction, and that the chemicals persist for years in the soil of rice paddy fields.
Two papers about the future of the planet appeared within a month of each other (June/July 2015): "Accelerated modern human-induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction" was the first. The 6 authors calculated the average rate of vertebrate losses over the last century and compared it with the background rate of losses. They estimated it to be up to 114 times the background rate and asserted that this rate of losses of biodiversity indicated that a sixth mass extinction is already under way.
Recent studies have shown that arthropods—insects, arachnids and other small, hard-bodied animals—are in trouble, from massive declines in the biomass (total weight) of flying insects to regional extinctions in a number of insect groups, such as butterflies. A new large-scale study across a number of habitats in Germany has found that the problem may be more extensive than previous research suggests.