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Beaver Marsh Trail - #6 - Insects



 

Without Insects, life as we know it would be very different. Insects play a very important role in ecosystems around the world. They provide us with items like silk, honey, and beeswax and are food for many animals that we eat. While some insects are pests and may hurt humans, others can actually help by eating these harmful species almost like a natural pest control. One interesting benefit to having insects is that many decompose or help to decompose waste so that the nutrients can return to the soil and be used again by other plants. Another important role some insects play are as indicator species. These species are very sensitive to severe environmental changes so they help to tell when something is wrong with an environment. ecosystem. When the ecosystem is out of balance and polluted you will have fewer types of species. For example, the presence of May-fly larvae indicate that the water is clean. and Midge fly larvae indicate poor water quality. Finally, and most importantly, many insects help to pollinate many important plants that we rely on for food. Many of the foods we eat today would not be possible to produce if not for these pollinators.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

 

Damselflies

Damselflies are indicator species for wetlands, telling about fair environmental conditions such as water flow, pollution, and vegetation type and abundance. They are harmless to humans and contrary to popular belief do not bite humans.

Damselflies

Damselflies

 

Dragonflies

Dragonflies look similar to damselflies but tend to keep their wings to the side when not using them while damselflies simply keep them on their backs. They feed on many different organisms like gnats, mayflies, flies, mosquitoes and other flying insects and are one of the most common insects in wetlands.

Dragonflies

Dragonflies

 

Ladybugs

These insects feed on aphids and pest species that are harmful to the crops we grow, making them very important members of the wetland ecosystem.

Ladybug

Ladybug

 

Bees

Because of the many wildflowers in the area, bees are quite common.

Bee

Bee

More Info

Headshot of Nicolette Cagle, Ph.D.
Nicolette Cagle, Ph.D.

Looking for even more information?

Check out Nicolette Cagle's March Wildlife Report

Check out Nicolette Cagle's March Wildlife Report

Nicolette Cagle, Ph.D. is a passionate ecologist and environmental educator on the faculty of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. She provides periodic Wildlife Reports on the flora and fauna in the Ellerbe Creek Watershed.

 



 

Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
331 W. Main, Ste. 511
Durham, NC 27701
919-698-9729

These web pages are the Eagle Scout project of Mathew Jacob.
Thanks Mathew!