Hawaii is known for its amazing biodiversity, but in recent years it has also become known as the “extinction capital of the world.” A groundbreaking study has just been published that focused on the ecosystem’s invertebrates as well as its bird and mammal populations in an effort to determine just how quickly species are disappearing across the whole spectrum of indigenous fauna.
The results of the research indicated that the loss of species to extinction has been far more serious than previously thought. In fact, Hawaii’s wildlife diversity is being decimated so quickly that scientists now believe that we are seeing the beginnings of a “sixth mass extinction” cycle across the globe. As much as seven percent of the world’s animal species may have been lost in recent years, according to researchers.
The Washington Post.com reports: On Hawaii alone, scores of brightly colored, tropical birds have been crossed off the islands’ list of extant fauna over the past two centuries. The same fate came to a number of moths and insects, and as a result, other species relying on those animals are now threatened. One of the islands’ plants, the stout Brighamia, known for growing on Hawaiian sea cliffs, now must be pollinated by hand because the insects that would do it naturally are gone.
By including the loss of invertebrates in Hawaii – specifically the land snail species – the scientists were able to gain a better picture of how quickly the planet is losing species to extinction. The loss of land snail species belonging to the Amastridae family could be as high as 14 percent per decade, according to the researchers. FULL REPORT