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Haus der Natur

Crawling diversity

Insects perform many vital tasks in the forest. About 80% of all forest plants are pollinated by insects. These include not only wild bees but also flies, butterflies and beetles.

Many insect species also play an important role in the nutrient cycle. For example, they eat leaves, needles, dead wood or carrion. The material is digested, released with their faeces and further processed by microorganisms. The nutrients are then once more available to the plants.

Insects are also an important source of food for many species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Many species of predatory insects also feed on other insects.

Insects' sense organs are specialized according to their way of life. Bees and dragonflies, for example, have compound eyes consisting of several thousand individual eyes. So many eyes make it much easier for them to perceive movements. This is important if you want to fly fast.

The number of insects living in a forest depends on how many small habitats there are. Woodlands with a rich structure and different species of trees and shrubs of all ages provide a habitat for more insect species than uniformly managed woodlands. The older a forest is, the more insect species it contains.