The word “endangered” is widely used when talking about rare animals in news reports, conservation campaigns, TV documentaries, and more. Sometimes being endangered is seen as a benefit, other times as a bad thing — but what does it mean? As with so many things, what lies behind the word “endangered” is more complicated than what meets the eye, and the word is not always used consistently, which can lead to confusion. Are honey bees endangered? No, there are millions of hives. Is the rusty patched bumble bee endangered? Yes, it is protected under the Endangered Species Act. What about the monarch butterfly? Probably, but not officially — and if they are protected, they may be classified as “threatened” — and is that at the federal or state level (or maybe internationally)? Are you confused yet?
There are not many insects as well-known, and as well-loved, as the monarch butterfly. Monarchs are characterized by their beautiful bright colors and their awe-inspiring migration. Unfortunately, monarch populations have been in decline for many years — but have you ever wondered how we know that? Tracking and estimating the population of any animal is tricky, even big ones like bears and eagles. How do you do it for an insect that moves across North America?
Insects — who needs 'em? We do! We’ve all heard that insects are in decline. From bumble bees to monarch butterflies to fireflies, people are noticing fewer insects on the landscape. Should we be alarmed that invertebrates are disappearing from our planet? The answer is yes, and while this is the start of a grim tale, there is hope. In understanding the impact and cause of decline, collectively, we can change the outcome of the story. But we need your help.
Have you heard of solitary ground-nesting bees? Yes? No? Either way, this podcast is for you! Unlike honey bees or bumble bees that live in colonies, solitary bees do it alone and interestingly, most of them nest underground. Although they are common, widespread, and almost certainly living in your neighborhood and at times literally under your feet, most people know very little about them.
The word Xerces often confuses people. What does it mean and where does the name Xerces come from? Join us on this short podcast to introduce the organization that works to save insects and other invertebrates: the Xerces Society.