Where Have All the XXX Gone?

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You fill in the blank:

â–º Honeybees
â–º Whippoorwills
â–º Bats
â–º Blister Beetles on Goldenrod
â–º Blue Lobelia
â–º … … … … ?

Some of the changes we note are not unnatural. Some are. It’s hard to tease out one from another, but the global list is long and serious.

The “sixth great extinction” is not random and trivial. And if we pay attention, all of us will see it happening, more or less gradually.

Much of the disappearance will, early on, be at from those tiny creatures in the ocean or the soil that serve key roles in food chains or in altering the chemical and mechanical nature of ecosystems.

When they fail, all of the pyramid of depended plants, fungi, animals and protists that depend on them will fail. And many of those are larger, more colorful, sexy and once familiar.

Sorry. That riff derives from the observation that we’ve seen a ratio of bumblebees to honeybees of a least 100 to 1. This particular one was feeding on Wingstem pollen by the garden–a habitat where at one time, the European Honeybee did much of the work.

About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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