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Insects Move To Higher Elevations As Earth Warms

Michael Dillon

Climate change is forcing insects to move to higher elevations.

University of Wyoming Associate Professor in Zoology and Physiology Michael Dillon said higher global temperatures are not good for insects.

"One pretty well documented pattern is that with changing climates, many animals, including insects, are moving up mountains, probably to escape the heat of low elevations by moving into higher elevations," he said.

Moving insects may not find the resources they need in new places, and they might harm the animals that are already there.

Dillon also said insects will likely come out earlier in the year and stay later. That means their interaction with plants and animals will shift in space and time.

"Most people think of them [insects] as the food for everything else," he said. "We don't really know what's going to happen to those things that eat insects if those insects either disappear locally or move."

Dillon said scientists don't know what the long-term effects of the insect movement will be. For that, they need more data.

Have a question about this story? Please contact the reporter, Ashley Piccone, at apiccone@uwyo.edu.

Ashley is a PhD student in Astronomy and Physics at UW. She loves to communicate science and does so with WPM, on the Astrobites blog, and through outreach events. She was born in Colorado and got her BS in Engineering Physics at Colorado School of Mines. Ashley loves hiking and backpacking during Wyoming days and the clear starry skies at night!
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