VIDEO: Warmer Earth means smaller butterflies, lesser food production

Web Desk
September 16, 2022

Butterflies are vital pollinators essential to 75% of world's crops and reduction in their size and speed can have 'serious repercussions for our food systems'

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Image of a butterfly sucking nector from a flower. — Unsplash

With climate change bringing unfortunate news every day, a new study has shown that butterflies might become smaller in size and struggle to fly due to warmer temperatures.

UBC research showed that smaller butterflies collect less pollen and visit fewer flowers which will affect the entire food chain of the planet.

Dr Michelle Tseng and his young partner Erez Büyükyilmaz grew butterflies in a laboratory at different temperatures to observe the effect of temperatures on their bodies.

The study published in Ecological Entomology found that warmer temperatures led to smaller insects. They also found that these butterflies could not fly as far as the bigger ones.

To confirm their findings further, the duo collected 100 butterflies from the wild and measured their size and the pollen they collected. It was confirmed that smaller ones did in fact carry less pollen.

Tseng said that butterflies are vital pollinators that are essential to 75% of the world's crops. The reduction in their size and speed can have "serious repercussions for our food systems."

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