Why Insects are Important to Biodiversity


Whenever the subject of insects comes up, we're always like "You mean those annoying little flying creatures?" Some of us may even be beefing some insects like bees or soldier ants because we have stinging stories about them. I want to talk about those that run from cockroaches but because I'm nice, I won't. Generally, we regard insects as nothing but nuisance. However, the truth of the matter is that they're far from being mere nuisances. In fact, they're very instrumental in the sustenance of biodiversity and life on earth as a whole. Today, I'll be showing you how. 

Insects are the largest group under the phylum anthropoids. They have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes and one pair of antennae. Examples are ants, beetles, ladybugs etc.

Before we go on to their importance, let's state out what biodiversity really means.

Biodiversity (biological diversity) refers to the variety of life on earth at all its levels from genes to ecosystems. In simpler words, biodiversity is the different kinds of life you will find in one area from animals to plants and even microorganisms that make up the natural world.

But do insects really have importance in biodiversity? This we may not know because of our behaviours towards them or how we consider them as nuisances and kill them at any chance we get. But that's about to change once you see their unending importance to biodiversity. They also have their bad part no doubt, but in the grand scheme of things, their importance outweighs the disadvantages.

DID YOU KNOW? There are 1.4 billion insects for every human on earth and all of them play an important role in the ecosystem. So you see, their importance which ranges from their ecological balance to their economic impact cannot be walked over on like some pieces of bread crumbs.

Below are some of their importance to biodiversity.

1. POLLINATION: We are familiar with this word from our elementary studies. Insects pollinate more than 80% of trees and bushes. Bees are the most common insect known for pollination. Without them, most of the food we eat will be no where to be found.

2. DECOMPOSITION: Insects are largely responsible for the decomposition of organic waste. In recent times, studies have shown that some insects such as Hermetia illucens, Zophobas morio and Tenebrio Molitor can develop the abilities to even break down plastics. Decomposition also helps in removal of disease causing organisms. 

3. DISPERSAL OF SEEDS: As odd as it may sound, insects are actively involved in this role. Sometimes, you discover a sprout of a particular plant specie at a corner of your lawn and you imagine how the seed got there, now you have your answer. Ants are mostly the front runners in this aspects.

4. NUTRITION: Insects serves as source of nutrition to other animals like birds because of their presence at the bottom of the food chain. They also serves as source of nutrition to humans. In some parts of Nigeria, humans eat some species of insects especially during the rainy season.

5. ECONOMIC IMPACT: According to a study conducted by US ecologists, John Losey and Mace Vaughan, the economic contribution of insects in the United States are found to be about $57 billion, not including the pollination. 

After listing all of these importance, you will agree with me that conserving insects and protecting them against extinction is about one of the greatest work we need to do. Protecting their habitat which people living in urban areas do not take into consideration is one of the major ways to do so.


Davey, R. (2022, February 1). Biodegradation of plastic waste using insects. AZoM.com. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://www.azom.com/amp/news.aspx?newsID=58081 

Worrall, S. (2021, May 4). Without bugs, we might all be dead. Animals. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/insect-bug-medicine-food-macneal#:~:text=There%20are%201.4%20billion%20insects,almost)%20every%20one%20of%20them.&text=There%20are%201.4%20billion%20insects%20for%20each%20one%20of%20us,David%20MacNeal%2C%20author%20of%20Bugged

Abdulsalam Abdulquddus

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