Insects could become extinct within 100 years, threatening the collapse of nature itself.
40 percent of insect species like bees and ants are now undergoing dramatic rates of decline, according to scientific journal journal, Biological Conservation.
They found evidence for decline in all insect groups reviewed, but said it was most pronounced for butterflies and moths, native bees, beetles and aquatic insects such as dragonflies.
Review author Francisco Sanchez-Bayo told The Guardian that if insect species loss can not be halted, it will also have catastrophic consequences for the survival of mankind. Scientists have long warned the the rapid loss of insects could have dramatic consequences for ecosystems around the globe, but nobody could have predicted the huge losses the researchers are now reporting.
Added CNN: 'Some 80% of wild plants use insects for pollination while 60% of birds rely on insects as a food source, according to the study. The loss of any large insect population will throw an ecosystem into disarray, ultimately affecting every other species, including apex predators like humans. Many insects feed on dead animals and fallen trees, thereby recycling nutrients back into the soil.
The in-depth research found that one third of insect species are already classed as endangered, with 40 percent in nearly all regions around the world expected to face extinction over the next few decades. "The repercussions this will have for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least".
Of the insects that remain, 41pc are in decline.
The biologists conducted a systematic review of 73 historic reports of insect declines across the world.
The review highlighted four key drivers of extinction: habitat loss caused by agriculture, urbanisation and deforestation; pollution; biological factors such as invasive species and diseases; and climate change.