A green hoverfly in Malinidi, Kenya. Image by Dino J. Martins. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the heart of a what was increasingly a global lockdown, the rains finally came to East Africa. They came after several years of drought and less-than-stellar rainy seasons. And with these rains, came the insects, says Dino Joseph Martins, the executive director of the Mpala Research Center. “There’s been this beautiful flash of butterflies and everybody’s with their families or at home, or trying to entertain their kids that are not in school, and looking at things in the garden or going on walks,” Martins said in August. Martins, an entomologist and butterfly aficionado, has become so “inundated” by questions from curious insect onlookers in lockdown that he’s considering “quitting social media” just to have some time to breathe again. “I think there has been a much broader appreciation of nature [during the pandemic] and it’s because of the loneliness of lockdown, the isolation,” says Martins. “This has been such a blow for so many people.” But, according to the scientist, the pandemic has also unexpectedly awakened many people to the marvels of the natural world and our interconnectedness with it. It’s a happy anecdote in a year that has seen not only wrenching global change due to the pandemic, but also reams of new research on the potential decline of insects around the world, often dubbed more dramatically as the “insect apocalypse” by the media. Parataxonomists building a DNA barcode…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer