A survey published this week analyzing bug splat on U.K. motorists' license plates found that the nation's flying insect population has declined by nearly 60% over the past 17 years, indicating a "terrifying" loss of biodiversity among the planet's most numerous class of species.
"There is a growing amount of evidence of widespread insect population decline. These declines could have catastrophic impacts on the Earth's natural environment and our ability to survive on the planet," warns a summary of the Bugs Matter Citizen Science Survey, which was conducted by Buglife and the Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT).
"However, there has not been enough data to draw robust conclusions about trends in insect populations in the U.K., because standardized surveys are not used for all insect groups or at a national scale," the publication continues. "Our study demonstrates the use of an innovative method for widespread monitoring of insect 'splat rate' to investigate changes in insect populations in the U.K. over a 17-year timeframe."