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Bug Out (Southern Science)

Burrowing mayflies on a lamp. Photo courtesy of John Abbott.
Burrowing mayflies on a lamp. Photo courtesy of John Abbott.

When trying to study changes in insect populations, researchers are hindered by one big problem: We don’t know as much about bugs as we need to.

“We know almost nothing,” said Kendra Abbott, entomologist and museums research and outreach coordinator at the University of Alabama.

Kendra and her husband, John Abbott, who is a fellow entomologist and UA’s chief museum curator and director of research and collections, estimate there are more than 30 million species of insects in the world. Only about 1.7 million have been observed and described by scientists, they said.

“If we have 29 million species that we still have to identify, how can we know about what their population was?” Kendra Abbott said. “… We have such a long way to go with figuring out what we actually have on earth.”

Read more of this article over at southern-science.com.