they all look the same to me

Climate change is being blamed for a changing of the guard among Sydney’s cockroach population.

Researchers say the most common sub-species in city households was the german cockroach, until it disappeared about seven years ago.

Martyn Robinson from the Australian Museum says the Australian house cockroach, methana marginalus, which likes warmer climates, has begun moving in.

“It’s most likely to be the…warmer climate,” he said.

ABC News (Australia), 14 Mar 2007

more insects

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A rise in the Earth’s temperature could lead to an increase in the number of insects worldwide, with potentially dire consequences for humans, a new study suggests.

New research shows that insect species living in warmer areas are more likely to undergo rapid population growth because they have higher metabolic rates and reproduce more frequently. The consequences could be more serious than just a few extra bug bites each summer.

“If they’re crop species, we could count on needing to use more pesticides and it could be very costly,” said Melanie Frazier, a doctoral student at the University of Washington and lead author of the study.

Live Science, 4 Nov 2006

less insects

“If you want to know how organisms react to climate change, it is important to find out how insects react to climate change,” said Dr. Jessica Hellmann, conservation biologist at the University of Notre Dame, explaining that most of the multicellular living organisms in our world are insects.

Yet, currently these invertebrates have become the hidden sufferers of global warming. As cold blooded organisms, insects cannot regulate their own body temperatures, making them particularly sensitive to climate change.
The Epoch Times, 20 Sep 2009
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listen to the bees!

bee_megaphoneWhen bees began to disappear from the landscape – and in America and Europe they are disappearing in their billions – it is an alarm signal. Today the bees are telling us something, and we need to listen.

The recent phenomena of the missing bees has been given a name: colony collapse disorder. Because bees play a key role in the landscape, they are a critical indicator of general environmental health. As one of Australia’s leading bee experts, Doug Somerville, of the NSW Department of Primary Industry, told me on Friday: “Honey bees are the canaries in the coalmine of the environment.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Aug 2007 – screencopy held by this website

no flies on them!

The pesky little flies that hover around rotting fruit could act as a sensitive warning system for the effects of global warming.

Professor Ary Hoffmann, a member of the La Trobe and Monash University team that studied the vinegar flies, said the changes in the genetic composition of the fly populations because of hotter conditions was surprisingly rapid.

The researchers sampled flies from Tasmania to far north Queensland, visiting farms, fruit shops and some supermarkets. “We’d go in with a net and ask where they dumped their rotten fruit,” Professor Hoffmann said.

They then studied the genes, including one called Adh that is linked to metabolism.
Sydney Morning Herald, 30 Apr 2005

flies falling over in bathtubs

In a world first, Melbourne researchers have shown that many species of fruit fly won’t survive even a modest increase in temperature. Many are close to or beyond their safety margin – and very few have the genetic ability to adapt to climate change.

Dr Vanessa Kellerman, of Monash University’s molecular ecology research group, said the scientists looked at the heat resistance of 100 different species of fruit flies. “This involved putting them in a water bath and slowly ramping up the water temperature over a three- or four-hour period until they started literally falling over.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Sep 2012

the luckless ladybird

ladybugThe luckless ladybird, already under siege from foreign invaders and parasitic wasps, now has global warming to contend with, scientists said yesterday.

Climate change has resulted in the gardener’s friend waking from its seven-month winter hibernation up to two weeks early, said Dr Mike Majerus, an expert on ladybirds at Cambridge University’s department of genetics.

The worry is that the aphids they eat are not responding to the earlier springs in the same way, leaving ladybirds facing starvation.
The Telegraph (UK), 2 Feb 2005

butterflies down for the count!

butterflyMore than three-quarters of Britain’s 59 butterfly species have declined over the last 40 years, with particularly dramatic declines for once common farmland species such as the Essex Skipper and small heath, according to the most authoritative annual survey of population trends.

“This is the final warning bell,” said Chris Packham, Butterfly Conservation vice-president, calling for urgent research to identify the causes for the disappearance of butterflies from ordinary farmland. “If butterflies are going down like this, what’s happening to our grasshoppers, our beetles, our solitary bees? If butterflies are in trouble, rest assured everything else is.”

Climate change and pesticides may be playing a more damaging role in their declines than previously thought.
The Guardian, 15 Dec 2015

thanks to John Blethen

insect taxi service

Now a new study by Durham University shows human beings could help by transporting the insects to cooler climes in the south. The researchers caught the Marbled White and Small Skipper butterflies in North Yorkshire and transported them in soft cages to safe areas in County Durham and Northumberland.

Eight years later the research, published in Conservation Letters, showed both species thriving in their new home. Professor Brian Huntley from Durham University said other species at risk of climate change could also be moved. The Telegraph (UK), 18 Feb 2009

quick change

Scientists have found a mosquito that appears to have evolved and adapted to climatic changes induced by global warming— the first documented case of a genetic change in response to the apparent heating up of the planet. Even more surprising, said evolutionary biologist William Bradshaw, of the University of Oregon, in Eugene, who led the study, is that this evolutionary change can occur in as little as five years.
National Geographic, 5 Nov 2011

invasion – mosquitoes

A report by the Expert Group on Climate Change on Health predicts that by 2080, much of the south of the UK would be vulnerable to the milder form of malaria plasmodium vivax for up to four months of the year because of the change in weather conditions.

Mosquitoes will thrive in the higher temperatures, and predicted increases in winter rainfall would provide ideal breeding conditions. Areas with salt-marshes like south-east Kent would be the most vulnerable. Global climate change could mean popular tourist destinations like Turkey could have a higher incidence of a more serious form of malaria.
BBC News, 9 Feb 2001

frenzied beetles upset apple cart

Climate change could be throwing common tree killers called mountain pine beetles into a reproductive frenzy. A new study suggests that some beetles living in Colorado, which normally reproduce just once annually, now churn out an extra generation of new bugs each year. The insects, says Jeffry Mitton, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, were swarming close to 2 months too early that year.

It seemed so implausible that when he told colleagues about the encounter, some didn’t believe him. “This would really upset the apple cart,” Milton remembers thinking.
Science AAAS, 16 Mar 2012

brighter bugs beat polar bears

It turns out Europe’s insects are getting lighter on average in response to increasing temperatures. “For two of the major groups of insects, we have now demonstrated a direct link between climate, insect color and habitat preference,” explained Carsten Rahbek, co-author of the study and the Director of the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen and professor at Imperial College London.

The survival of the humble bumble bee or the innocuous ant play a pivotal role in defining our natural world as this Earth’s climate changes. Ultimately, the color change in butterfly wings will have a bigger impact on Earth’s biodiversity than all the polar bears in the world.
Discover, 27 May 2014

less mosquitoes

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Malaria transmission will not increase because of global warming in the African nation of Burundi according to a statistical analysis by researchers in Austria and Burundi. Writing in the International Journal of Global Warming, the team explains that rising temperatures will lead to lower humidity and rainfall which will shorten the lifespan of mosquitoes carrying malaria.
Science Daily, 2 Feb 2011

more mosquitoes

All else being equal, as the planet warms, it seems likely that malaria will become more dangerous to more people. “This is indisputable evidence of a climate effect,” said Mercedes Pascual, a disease ecologist at Michigan and one of authors of the Science paper. “Our findings here underscore the size of the problem and emphasize the need for sustained intervention efforts in these regions, especially in Africa.”
Time.com, 6 mar 2014
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invasion – kissing bugs

But could those more-dangerous kissing bug species move north as the climate warms? (members of Reduviid family of insects — the so-called kissing bugs because of their habit of biting people around the mouth while they sleep)

“Absolutely,” says Patricia Dorn, an expert on Chagas disease at Loyola University. “We know the bugs are already across the bottom two-thirds of the U.S., so the bugs are here, the parasites are here. Very likely with climate change they will shift further north and the range of some species will extend,” she says.
University of Vermont, 14/3/12

invasion -Asian tiger mosquito

Experts working for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have identified 9 alien species on the verge of invading Britain. The experts are most concerned about is the Asian tiger mosquito which is larger than most – up to 1cm long – and bites in the day, rather than just in the evening.
www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/, 7 Jun 2009

invasion – Dragonfly

The damselfly, a flying matchstick of bright blue and black, is the latest of a number of new arrivals from Europe which are thought to have been brought to Britain by rising temperatures caused by climate change, according to The British Dragonfly Society.
www.independent.co.uk, 22 July 2010