Humans have caused almost 600 plant species to be wiped from existence over the past 250 years in a long term trend which scientists have described as an “unprecedented” rate of decline. An analysis of all plant extinction records documented from across the world by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Stockholm University found 571 known plant species had completely disappeared from the wild since the industrial revolution. This is more than twice the number of birds, mammals and amphibians which have become extinct over the same period combined.
The Western honeybee, Apis mellifera, is the most important managed pollinator globally and has recently experienced unsustainably high colony losses. Synergistic interactions among stressors are believed to be primarily responsible. However, despite clear evidence of strong effect on honeybee longevity of widely-employed neonicotinoid insecticides and of the ubiquitous ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, no data exist to show synergistic effects between these two stressors.
We assessed the community-level effects of clothianidin-treated seed on the diversity and abundance of arthropod communities in a no-till corn agroecosystem over a single growing season.Epigeal and foliage-dwelling communities were disturbed by the clothianidin seed treatment, with significant negative and positive changes in taxa abundances. Clothianidin reduced the abundance of minute pirate bugs by 66.2%, lady beetles by 44.7%, ants by 43.4%, ground beetle adults and larvae by 31.7%, and rove beetles by 44.1% during the early corn growth stages.
We evaluated the efects of repeated larval exposure to neonicotinoid insecticide, both in isolation and in combination with strobilurin fungicide, at environmentally relevant doses. The total consumption of the contaminated diet was 23.63 ng fungicide/larvae (pyraclostrobin) and 0.2364 ng insecticide/larvae (clothianidin). The efects on post-embryonic development were evaluated over time. Additionally, we assessed the survival pattern of worker bees after emergence, and the pesticides’ effects on the behavior of newly emerged workers and young workers.
Imidacloprid binds irreversibly to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the insect nervous system, and their activation ultimately leads to the death of the neuron (Casida and Durkin, 2013). Imidacloprid toxicity increases upon the molecule’s cumulative binding to nAChRs, and the toxic effects can be reinforced even at low-dose exposure over extended periods of time (Tennekes and Sanchez-Bayo, 2011).
An estimated 90 percent of seabirds in the North island are at risk of extinction according to the Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust report. More than 28 species, including five that are found nowhere else in the world, live in northern New Zealand with very little known about the status of them and the specific threats to them, the report said.
At least 314 species of American birds are expected to lose 50 per cent or more of their range by the end of the century, and have been listed by the Audubon Society as endangered. A United Nations science report says 1 million species of plants and animals are at risk of going extinct. Most at risk are sea birds and grasslands birds, experts say. Birds known as aerial insectivores, like swifts (Apus apus) and nighthawks (Chordeiles minor) , are at risk because the insects they depend on are getting harder to find.
A Dutch researcher, H Tennekes has made the case that neonicotinoids, a special group of insecticides, are causing a catastrophe in the insect world, which is having a knock-on effect for many of our birds. These chemicals were introduced in the 1990’s and it wasn’t long afterwards that beekeepers noticed massive declines in bee numbers (Colony Collapse Disorder). France banned the use of one of these chemicals on sun flower seed in 1999, and Germany and Italy have banned two types on maize.