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You don’t have to have a doctorate in entomology to know that the northern regions of the world, like Iceland and Greenland, are not regions where insects are plentiful. If you live in America, then the farther south you travel, the greater the degree of insect diversity. Regions near the equator, will no doubt be home to a huge variety of different insects. These regions contain a vast amount of predator and prey insects that are constantly at war. While other insects avoid confrontation with constant camouflage. Some insects are so strange looking in these areas that you would not believe that you were looking at an insect. Certainly, every entomologist is aware that insect diversity is at its greatest near the equator. Despite this common knowledge, entomologists from all over the world, north and south, planted fake worms in the wild in order to see if they had been attacked by predators. Naturally you would think that the greatest amount of predator attacks would have occurred within tropical regions near the equator. And you would be right, but there are other considerations, such as elevation levels.

An international team of scientists planted clay caterpillars at thirty one different locations across six continents. Every region from the Arctic circle to Australia was littered with fake worms that resembled glowing green earthworms. The worms were placed on leaves and tree branches. The goal of the study was to better understand global insect feeding patterns. The research team discovered that these dummy-worms were more likely to be attacked if they were planted closer to the equator. The researchers could tell when a worm was attacked because the attacking animal would leave behind evidence of their attack. It was also discovered that the worms planted at lower elevations were more likely to be attacked than ones planted at higher elevations. The chances of a fake worm being eaten or attacked decreased by three percent with every degree of latitude north and south of the equator. This experiment has allowed researchers to identify biodiversity hotspots around the world.

Which region of the world would you assume to have the greatest amount of insect diversity?

 

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