05 January 2010

Tuesday Crustie: Celebrate diversity

First, you may be thinking that’s not a crustacean. It is... from a certain point of view. There’s a reasonable amount of evidence that insects are the direct descendants of crustaceans. This idea, which was deemed “goofy” on some crustacean email lists when I was a grad student, has been gaining more ground, in part due to studies of the similarities in the nervous systems.

Thus, insects are crustaceans – in the same sort of way that birds are dinosaurs.

Second, I wanted to remind everyone that this is the start of the International Year of Biodiversity. And insects are the most speciose group of animals on the planet, and beetles have the greatest number of species of insects. Insects are among the little things rule the world, as E.O. Wilson put it.

Photo by user Steve_C on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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