A whole class of organisms is threatened with extinction by human activity and population growth, according to a new report penned by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The victims are invertebrates, organisms that do not have a spinal column, including creatures such as worms, insects, spiders, crustaceans, jellyfish and snails.
Most of the time, those of us
higher up on the food-chain tend to ignore these creatures (or eat or destroy
them in mass quantities), considering them irrelevant, abundant and
inexhaustible. However, according to this report, one in five species of invertebrate
are in danger of going extinct unless we consider conservation efforts that
specifically target them.
"The invertebrates are
the eco-system engineers," said Ben Collen, head of
the Indicators and Assessments unit at the Zoological Society of London,
according to Reuters.
"They produce a lot of the things that humans rely on and they produce
them for free."