Effects of climate change on insect biodiversity: a call to action.

Among the many pressing concerns facing scientists worldwide, biodiversity loss stands out as one of the most serious. This poses a major threat to ecological communities and the vital services they provide. Habitat alteration, overexploitation, pollution, biological invasions, and human-induced climate change are the main factors driving changes and declines in biodiversity throughout the biosphere. Given that global warming has already risen by about 1.1 °C since the beginning of industrialization and is expected to rise by a further two to five degrees by 2100, there is an urgent need to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change not only contributes to the extinction of species, but also leads to profound changes in their abundance, distribution, and interaction with other species.

Effects of long-term human-induced climate change on insects.

The effects of gradual, long-term warming on insect populations may not be immediately apparent. However, once critical thresholds are exceeded that affect important life processes, detectable changes in insect dynamics, distribution, phenology (timing of life cycles), and abundance occur. Warming in the biosphere is not uniform, with higher latitudes warming faster than lower latitudes. Tropical mountains in particular are warming at an alarming rate, causing shifts in ecosystems at higher elevations. The effects of elevated temperatures on insects are far-reaching, resulting in increased metabolic rates and associated physiological costs. While warmer temperatures can stimulate growth and reproduction to some optimal level, exceedances of these thresholds can result in developmental defects, reduced reproductive rates, impaired dispersal ability, reduced fitness levels, and increased mortality.

Changes in the distribution of species and the stability of ecosystems

Climate change is causing changes in the ranges of species as insects try to adapt to changing climatic conditions. The ability of insects to migrate and adapt to new environments is critical to their survival. Projections show that species located at lower latitudes or elevations will need to migrate to cooler environments to escape extinction. Models based on bioclimatic envelope models, responses to extreme temperatures, or estimates of elevation range all highlight the potential loss of suitable habitat for insects. However, their ability to adapt to shifting climates is influenced by several ecological and evolutionary dynamics, including dispersal ability, habitat availability, and interactions with other species. A lack of adaptive capacity to changing conditions can lead to disruptions in ecological communities, which in turn can impact species interactions, ecosystem stability, and the provision of vital ecosystem services.

Climate change and insect-related ecosystem services

Insects play a critical role in ecosystem function, and their contributions extend far beyond their immediate ecological communities. One of the most important services they provide is pollination, which enables the reproduction of flowering plants, including many crops. Climate change-induced declines in insect populations and their interactions with flowering plants have the potential to destabilize pollination networks, reduce crop yields, and threaten food supplies.


The impact of climate change on insects and their associated biodiversity is an urgent problem that requires immediate attention. Declines in insect populations caused by climate change and other human impacts threaten the integrity of ecological communities, the provision of vital ecosystem services, and ultimately human well-being. It is crucial to take action to combat climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the protection of insect biodiversity. Clitec offers the best products for climate chambers for insect rearing in various types and sizes. For more information, please take a look at our product list.


Harvey, J.A. et al. (2022). “Scientists’ warning on climate change and insects.” Ecological Monographs, 93(1). doi:10.1002/ecm.1553.