Changing Times: How Will Climate Change Affect Insects?

Written by Nancy Miorelli

During my week curating Real Scientists, a twitter account with rotating scientists, communicators, and artists, I had some really great questions about insects come in. One I thought was particularly insightful was about climate change and insects.

When we think about Climate Change, as Jon Oliver points out, we usually think about a polar bear perched on a little chunk of ice. But it’s not just polar bears that are affected by climate change.

File:Polar Bear AdF.jpg

Photo Credit: Arturo de Frias Marques (CC by SA 4.0)

Everything is. And insects are no exception. We’ll see range shifts, species extinctions, increase in other species. But it’s not all bad news. We can use some insects as indicators for environmental changes, and that helps US prepare for the future.

Nancy Miorelli, @SciBugs, is living in the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest in the Maquipucuna Reserve.
To help fund her stay she sells eco-friendly bug jewelry featuring jewel beetle shells and an Ecuadorian nut called Tagua!
Check out her shop SciBugsCollections on Etsy!


  1. Ernst CM & Buddle CM. 2015. Drivers and Patterns of Grown-Dwelling Beetle Biodiversity Across Northern Canada. Plos One
  2. Hering D, Schmidt-Kloiber A, Murphy K, Lücke S, Zamora-Muñoz, López-Rodríguez MJ, Huber T, Graf W.  2009. Potential impact of climate change on aquatic insects: A sensitivity analysis for European caddisflies (Trichoptera) based on distribution patterns and ecological preferences. Aquatic Sciences 71(1): 3-14.
  3. Hodkinson ID. 2005. Terrestrial Insects Along Elevation Gradients: Species and Community Responses to Altitude. Biological Reviews 80(3): 489-513
  4. Jackson MD, Miorelli NC, Bond AL. 2017. New Record of the Non-Native Long-Legged Fly Thambemyia borealis (Takagi 1965) (Diptera: Dolichopodidae) in North America and an Example of Twitter’s Utility for Natural History DocumentationProceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 119(1):151-156
  5. Studer E. 2016. Beetles on the Beach: Population Survey and Indicator Potential of a Species of Conservation Concern, Habroscelimorpha dorsalis media, in the Georgia Barrier Islands. University of Georgia: Master’s Thesis.


About SciBugs

Entomologist, Science Communicator, and Crafter Twitter: @SciBugs
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