Nearly 50 percent of Britain’s butterfly species could disappear


Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | May 27, 2022

Britain could see a drastic drop in its butterfly species soon.

24 out of 58 species in the country are at risk of going extinct according to a new report by Butterfly Conservation. The BBC reported there are five more species on the list than the last time data was compiled 11 years ago. Adonis Blue butterflies were recategorized this year to be more threatened. Swallowtails are also more at risk than in 2011. Wood Whites were moved to the endangered category, while groups attempt to save the British midland insects.

Large Heath butterflies are affected by climate change, according to the new report. As the northern area of the country becomes cooler and damper over time, butterflies in the area are more at risk of becoming endangered. The Large Heath joined the endangered list this week. The Scotch Argus can also be found in the northern portion of Britain and is now listed as vulnerable but not endangered.

Previous conservation work in Great Britain has, however, saved a few species. The Large Blue butterflies were declared extinct in the late 1970s, but are now being found in British grasslands. Colonies are thriving according to conservationists in the country. The Duke of Burgundy has now been found in southern Britain, where its caterpillars have more vegetation to eat.

New study finds cacti face a greater extinction risk by 2050


Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | April 22, 2022

As the planet grows warmer, 60 percent of cactus species are at a greater risk of extinction by 2050.

While the earth gets hotter and drier, a new study found cacti are set to be in more danger than they already are. Poaching, habitat destruction, and other human-caused threats to the plants already make them one of the world’s most endangered organisms, according to The New York Times. Cacti thrive in a variety of environments, including rainforests and high altitudes, not just deserts. The study looked at a quarter of known cactus species and found many of types could experience significant declines in the land that is hospitable for them if the planet continues to warm up as it has in recent history.

The study, however, does not account for any extreme events. No wildfires or droughts were factored in based on where certain species are typically found. Researchers touted the new research as “pivotal” for showing what cacti could look like in the near and far future.

American Bumblebee at Risk of Extinction


Bumblebees declining number are worrying scientist (Flickr)

Sthefany Nóbriga| May 16, 2019

 A new research study from the University of Vermont and York University found that the lack of plant diversity, climate change, and agricultural expansion could harm the American bumblebee, bringing them to extinction. 

Scientists found that Bombus pensylvanicus, commonly known as the American bumblebee, is rapidly declining in the northern part of the continent.

Moreover, this is due to accelerating threats from agricultural expansion, such as widely used insecticides, and the danger of harsh winters throughout the northern region. 

According to the study the number of areas where bumblebees can be found decreased by 70% from historical rates. In Canada, the bumblebee population has dropped approximately 89%

American bumblebees are a keystone species and are vital for the function of ecosystems where they reside, and if they go extinct, the plant reproduction and plant yield could plummet significantly, according to CNN.

Bumblebees use their jaws to rattle flowers until pollen is released, and this process is vital for food crops such as tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, peppers, and potatoes, and so much more.  

However, already one bumblebee species is on the list of endangered species for unnatural extinction. Also, considered for stated listing are four additional species native to California. 

Rising temperatures pose a complex threat to lizards populations


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Scientists surgically implanted temperature sensors on spiny lizards in order to measure the effect of shade on body temperature. (Renee Grayson/flickr)

Jenna Ladd | September 6, 2016

Countless animal species are negatively affected by climate change, but a recent study suggests that lizards have it particularly rough.

Following a major international survey published in the journal Science, it was predicted that if current trends continue, 20 percent of all lizard species could go extinct by 2080. An international team of biologists led by Barry Sinervo at the University of California, Santa Cruz researched the effects of rising temperatures on lizard populations around the world. Using their findings, the group developed a predictive model of extinction risk. Sinervo said, “We did a lot of work on the ground to validate the model and show that the extinctions are the result of climate change.” He added, “None of these are due to habitat loss. These sites are not disturbed in any way, and most of them are in national parks or other protected areas.”

Lizards are especially sensitive to warming climates because they regulate their body temperature using the environment around them. Michael Sears, a biologist at Clemson University, said that previous extinction models made the assumption that lizards are able to find shade immediately in their respective environments, which could mean models are inaccurate. Sears and his colleagues researched how the availability of shade affects lizards’ ability to achieve an optimal body temperature.

The researchers implanted small temperature sensors into dozens of spiny lizards and tested how the animals reacted to constructed areas of shade within New Mexico desert enclosures. They found that the lizards fared better in environments when several small areas of shade were available, in comparison with enclosures that had just a few large areas of shade. Sears explained, “It’s sort of like, if you were out jogging, and there was only one tree and it was a long way to the next one, and it was a hot day — that’s a bad environment. But if there were a bunch of trees along the way providing little bits of shade, you’d feel a lot better.”

The study concluded that extinction predictions for lizards are not uniform across all populations. In general, lizards that live in cooler environments may actually benefit from climate change, while those that live in hotter areas are likely to suffer. As for all those in between, Sears said we can’t be sure, “All bets are kind of off now. Because what our study suggests is that how bushes are placed in an environment might really impact the lizards just as much as the temperature itself.”