Insect Cultural Services: How Insects Have Changed Our Lives and How Can We Do Better for Them

Natalie E Duffus, Craig R Christie, Juliano Morimoto* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Societies have benefited directly and indirectly from ecosystem services provided by insects for centuries (e.g., pollination by bees and waste recycling by beetles). The relationship between people and insect ecosystem services has evolved and influenced how societies perceive and relate to nature and with each other, for example, by shaping cultural values ('cultural ecosystem services'). Thus, better understanding the significance of insect cultural services can change societies' motivations underpinning conservation efforts. To date, however, we still overlook the significance of many insect cultural services in shaping our societies, which in turn likely contributes to the generalised misconceptions and misrepresentations of insects in the media such as television and the internet. To address this gap, we have reviewed an identified list of insect cultural services that influence our societies on a daily basis, including cultural services related to art, recreation, and the development of traditional belief systems. This list allowed us to formulate a multi-level framework which aims to serve as a compass to guide societies to better appreciate and potentially change the perception of insect cultural services from individual to global levels. This framework can become an important tool for gaining public support for conservation interventions targeting insects and the services that they provide. More broadly, this framework highlights the importance of considering cultural ecosystems services-for which values can be difficult to quantify in traditional terms-in shaping the relationship between people and nature.
Original languageEnglish
Article number377
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Early online date22 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research received no external funding.
Data Availability Statement: No new data were created or analysed in this study. Data sharing is not applicable to this article.


  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • biodiversity
  • ecosystem services
  • policy
  • societies
  • sustainability


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