Declining abundance of beetles, moths and caddisflies in the Netherlands

Caddisfly by Paul Lund


  1. Recently, reports of insect declines prompted concerns with respect to the state of insects at a global level. Here, we present the results of longer‐term insect monitoring from two locations in the Netherlands: nature development area De Kaaistoep and nature reserves near Wijster.
  2. Based on data from insects attracted to light in De Kaaistoep, macro‐moths (macro‐Lepidoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), and caddisflies (Trichoptera) have declined in the mean number of individuals counted per evening over the period of 1997–2017, with annual rates of decline of 3.8, 5.0 and 9.2%, respectively. Other orders appeared stable [true bugs (Hemiptera: Heteroptera and Auchenorrhyncha) and mayflies (Ephemeroptera)] or had uncertainty in their trend estimate [lacewings (Neuroptera)].
  3. Based on 48 pitfall traps near Wijster, ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) showed a mean annual decline of 4.3% in total numbers over the period of 1985–2016. Nonetheless, declines appeared stronger after 1995.
  4. For macro‐moths, the mean of the trends of individual species was comparable to the annual trend in total numbers. Trends of individual ground beetle species, however, suggest that abundant species performed worse than rare ones.
  5. When translated into biomass estimates, our calculations suggest a reduction in total biomass of approximately 61% for macro‐moths as a group and at least 42% for ground beetles, by extrapolation over a period of 27 years. Heavier ground beetles and macro‐moths did not decline more strongly than lighter species, suggesting that heavy species did not contribute disproportionately to biomass decline.
  6. Our results broadly echo recent reported trends in insect biomass in Germany and elsewhere.

Click here to read the rest of the article.: Declining abundance of beetles, moths and caddisflies in the Netherlands – Hallmann – – Insect Conservation and Diversity – Wiley Online Library