Fireflies may more be a thing of summer evenings but still it is incomplete without the chorus of crickets providing the background music to the space. When I was young, I learnt that male crickets lure the female ones by rubbing their legs together and making that chirps after the sunset. The simple song was enough to attract the partner and balmy the ambience.
Tragically, that sound is fading with time and according to entomologists, may possibly extinct in the near future. Mr Christopher Hassall, Lecturer in Animal Biology at University of Leeds, writes about this fact in The Conservation. He says that, “There is strong evidence that large numbers of crickets and grasshoppers … are declining across Europe.”
It is said that 30% of the 1000 European species are in decline while only 3# are increasing. Sadly, this trend is not just seen in Europe but many other countries as well. According to a research study, 45% drop is witnessed in the insect abundance present globally in the span of 4 decades. This unfortunate trend is named “Insect Armageddon” by the scientists. Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University, part of a research team stated, “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”
The root cause of this threat to the Orthoptera is the intensification of the agricultural land. The permanent transformation of the grasslands, overgrazing, excessive use of chemicals like pesticides and the use of heavy machinery are some of the factors that is bringing this ugly change. The growing urbanisation, touristic developments and tempering actions of mankind like afforestation are also the major threats to Orthoptera.
Every creature present in this world carries its own importance. The abating numbers of butterflies and other attractive species may be stealing all the attention but the we cannot ignore the dwindling population of the less iconic species like crickets and fireflies. The balance of ecosystem needs every segment to hold its own place and play its role.
Mr Hassall mentions that the number of crickets represents the health of the ecosystem. As the number declines, we not only lose one of the natural wonder but also are stepping forward to a barren world.