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Without a backbone, without a future?

A staggering one fifth of the world's invertebrates could be at risk of extinction, according to a new report published today by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), in conjunction with IUCN and the IUCN Species Survival Commission.

The culmination of a review of an incredible 12,000 invertebrate species on the IUCN Red List, 'Spineless: Status and Trends of the World's Invertebrates' presents the findings of global, regional and national assessments, and paints a sombre picture of the current status of our planet's spineless residents.


Essential invertebrates

While invertebrates are frequently met with disinterest, or even active dislike, they form the basis of many of the essential services that nature provides. From crop pollination by bees to water filtration by freshwater molluscs, humans rely on invertebrates for survival. However, with the ever-growing demand for resources, invertebrates are being placed under increasing pressure.

"Invertebrates constitute almost 80 percent of the world's species, and a staggering one in five species could be at risk of extinction. While the cost of saving them will be expensive, the cost of ignorance to their plight appears to be even greater," said Dr Ben Collen, head of the Indicators and Assessments Unit at ZSL.

Status and Trends

The recent report set out to evaluate what is known about the status and trends of marine, freshwater and terrestrial invertebrate populations, and to assess the importance of these species to human beings. This latest research has led scientists to the worrying discovery that invertebrates are just as threatened as vertebrates and plants, with freshwater species faring least well.

Article continues at ENN affiliate, ARKive.org