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Perceptions and representations of animal diversity: Where did the insects go?

Abstract : Insects are everywhere: they represent 73% of the total described fauna, and, being linked to every ecosystem function, they play key roles in biodiversity resilience. However, are we humans aware of this? Through a study conducted on French students in Environmental and Human Sciences, we designed a free-associations test-based game to elucidate whether Insects were a part of animal diversity representations and which Insects were indeed in students' minds. We also looked for perceived values and related knowledge among taxa in order to examine those results with regard to students' socio-demographic characteristics. Besides a known overall negative perception of invertebrates, we found that this perception was correlated to the "human environment" of the person beyond the "exposure to nature" theory: being surrounded by persons actively involved in nature conservation increases positive perception of Insecta. Moreover, invertebrates were less seen as a part of ecosystems than vertebrates; this implies a lack of a holistic vision of diversity, which might be the key to improving insect understanding and conservation. Departing from the depiction of insects from a specific group of participants, we propose a generic framework to enhance awareness for insect conservation and recommendations to improve education initiatives. These baselines could significantly help future conservation strategies as they address the perception challenge of insects.
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https://hal-univ-montpellier3-paul-valery.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03216211
Contributor : Pierre Jay-Robert <>
Submitted on : Monday, May 3, 2021 - 7:31:57 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 5:11:05 PM

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Camila Leandro, Pierre Jay-Robert. Perceptions and representations of animal diversity: Where did the insects go?. Biological Conservation, Elsevier, 2019, 237, pp.400-408. ⟨10.1016/j.biocon.2019.07.031⟩. ⟨hal-03216211⟩

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