Park rangers use butterflies to take planet’s pulse in a biodiversity hotspot

For the last decade, biologists have documented a worrying decline in insect abundance, which some fear may prelude an arthropod apocalypse. These studies, however, are primarily carried out in temperature regions while the tropics, which harbor the vast majority of insect species, largely remains a black box. In a new study, biologists turn to the aid of park rangers in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park — considered one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet — to assess changes to insect abundance.