In 2014, the St Helena Giant Earwig became extinct. This matters

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL December 31, 2014

earwig0sAt least 22 animal species went extinct in 2014, as near as we can tell. We’re doubtful about the real number, as says, because “sometimes we do not even know that a species exists before it is gone”. 

That’s what apparently happened with the following: the Bermuda Flicker, Bermuda Hawk, Bermuda Night-heron, Bermuda Saw-whet Owl, Christmas Sandpiper, Finsch’s Duck, Hodgen’s Waterhen, Mauritius Turtle-dove, North Island Snipe, Oceanic Parrot, Rodrigues Blue-pigeon, South Island Snipe, and the Tristan Moorhen.

More definite though is the fate of the Christmas Island Forest Skink, the St Helena Giant Earwig, two species of Killifish (from Algeria and Iran) and the Plectostoma sciaphilum snail, which lived on a hill in Malaysia.

Does it matter when a species dies? What, if anything, to think when, say, the St Helena Giant Earwig vanishes from the earth?

Well, extinction wouldn’t matter if it weren’t forever. “Normal” rates of extinction vary, but are typically one to two species per year. By that token, 2014 was a simply appalling year.