Why are Arthropods so important? [return to Home Page]

Why Arthropods are important to you?

Phylum Arthropoda is a major invertebrate group. This phylum contains Centipedes, Crabs, Crayfish, Insects, Millepedes, Mites, Shrimp, Spiders, Ticks, and their kin is the most species-rich animal phylum, with perhaps over 10 million species. Our survivorship on Earth depends on many other life forms including Arthropods and other invertebrates. Arthropods are aesthetic entities, food for other organisms, parasites, pollinators, predators, scavengers, and soil aerators. Professor Edward Osborne Wilson eloquently described our dependence on invertebrates.

"The truth is that we need invertebrates but they don't need us. If human beings were to disappear tomorrow, the world would go on . . . . But if invertebrates were to disappear; I doubt that the human species could last more than a few months. Most of the fishes, amphibians, birds and mammals would crash to extinction about that same time. Next . . . the bulk of the flowering plants . . . and the world would return to the state of a billion years ago. . . ."

E. O. Wilson. 1987. The little things that run the world (The importance of conservation of invertebrates). Conservation Biology 1(4): 344–346.

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