Insects

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Insects play an important role in a biosphere. On Earth they are the animal group with the greatest variety, comprising more than a million species. They live in almost every climate.

On Mars the natural environmental conditions do not allow insects to live, same as for every other known animal. But in an artificial human habitat insects might be very useful to build a biosphere in greenhouses. They can help to pollinate blooms, decay dead pieces of plants, etc. The insect species must be selected carefully to establish a long term stable population.

Spiders may be introduced for insect population control as well as other predatory arthropods such as species of Praying Mantis, but without the benefit of silks.

Certain species can be used as food for colonists, providing valuable proteins. We do not want to use blood sucking insects as food, as they may carry parasites.

Wanted species

  • Bees and flies for pollinating blooms
  • Slaters, springtails and earthworms for accelerating decay in compost heap
  • Some insects can be very efficient transformers of biomass into protein. They might be introduced for animal feed and human food. Control of introduced species may be difficult, as some insects might escape and eat food destined for humans rather than waste biomass.

Not wanted species

Any blood sucking insects and human parasites, e.g. ticks, mosquitoes, flea, etc. Such species may be kept for scientific study or as part of an ark program.

Ants can be a very competitive species, and may consume resources if they are accidentally introduced. Biosphere 2 had severe problems with ants[1].

References