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Insects of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve: a photo album
Photographs by Glenda Denniston
Insects are the most diverse and abundant of all terrestrial animals. A full listing of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve's inhabitants has never been tabulated, but it is safe to say that the number of insect species is larger than all other groups combined.
Insects play crucial roles in ecosystem functioning. As pollinators, they contribute to the reproduction of most flowering plants. Insects are often the first decomposers of dead plants and animals, and introduce microorganisms that continue this process and release nutrients for new plant growth. Insects serve as food for other animals, such as fish, birds, and amphibians.
None of the ecosystems represented at the Lakeshore Nature Preserve could exist in their current form without insects. Insects often have very specialized requirements, so each species is typically found within a particular microsite, such as in the soil, under bark, or along the underside leaf veins of a particular tree species. Each also has a specific rhythm as to time of year and day when they are most active.
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