Canada's insect fauna contains many thousands of species
and plays a wide variety of natural roles.
Insects and their relatives belong to the most varied
group of animals. Information compiled by the Biological Survey shows that in Canada
- There are about 55,000 species of insects.
- There are about 11,000 species of mites and spiders.
- About 4,000 species live in arctic regions beyond the
limit of trees.
- Only about half the species living in Canada have even
Estimated Composition of Canada's Fauna
Diverse roles of the fauna
Insects and their relatives are found in almost every
conceivable habitat, and play many roles in Canadian ecosystems. These ecological roles
have led to a pervasive economic importance, though this is not always obvious because
many species are small and inconspicuous. Included in the group are species that eat
living plants, species that feed on decaying materials, species that prey on other
invertebrates, and parasites of other insects or of vertebrates. Many of the larger forms
serve as the basic food of fish, birds, and mammals. Some species transmit various
diseases to animals, including man, and to plants. Over half of Canada's flowering plants
are pollinated by insects.
Insects of Canada (Survey publication)
A general account of the nature of the Canadian insect
fauna and of entomology in Canada was prepared by the Survey as a booklet entitled "Insects of Canada", distributed at the
International Congress of Entomology held in Vancouver in 1988.
Insects of Canada (Popular version)
The web site of the Canadian Museum of Nature carries the
Survey's account of the Canadian insect fauna in a less technical abridged version.