What have insects ever done for us?

I know my title is a lazy reference to a scene from the Monty Python movie The Life of Brian, but I think it is appropriate given all the recent talk about the decline of insects around the world. Does it matter if all the insects disappear?

Many (most?) people only notice insects when those insects are affecting them directly and in a negative way, e.g. stinging them, biting them, annoying them with buzzing, or chewing on one of their beloved plants (like the Grapevine moth Phalaenoides glycinae larva below).

Phalaenoides glycinae

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Simply irresistible

The Grampians region of Victoria is one of Australia’s richest and most diverse flora areas. One third of Victoria’s flora is represented here so it is no surprise that the region was once dubbed “the Garden of Victoria” by the great botanist Ferdinand von Mueller.

Spring is an excellent time to see wildflowers throughout the region, especially terrestrial orchids such as the Mantis Orchid (Caladenia tentaculata) pictured below. It is one of the green-comb Spider Orchids and is common throughout the Grampians region. The colourful and flamboyant flowers of this orchid may be pleasing to the human eye but they are simply irresistible to certain male insects.

Caladenia tentaculata

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