Claim: global warming causes shrinking beetles

From the UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA and the “honey it shrunk the bugs” department, where correlation must be causation. Really, what else could it be but global warming? This reminds me of some other studies claiming some animal changed or vanished or was maligned by the dreaded warming, only to find out later, oh, never mind

Warming climate shrinks British Columbia beetles

Some of B.C.’s beetles are shrinking as their habitats get warmer, according to new UBC research. The study provides evidence that climate change is affecting the size of organisms.

“In nature, there is so much going on that can affect body size so we weren’t sure we were going to see anything,” said Michelle Tseng, assistant professor of botany and zoology at UBC who oversaw the research. “This research provides evidence that climate change is affecting even the smallest organisms out there.”

Scientists expect living organisms to respond to climate change in three ways – by moving to new regions, changing the timing of their life stages or shrinking. To date, most of the evidence for organisms shrinking has come from laboratory work where the environment and living conditions can be tightly controlled. Tseng asked students in her fourth-year class to look into whether this is happening by examining beetle specimens in UBC’s Beaty Biodiversity Museum collection, as well as historical weather data.

Assisted by curators at the Beaty, students selected eight species of beetles from the Lower Mainland and Okanagan for their data set. They photographed more than 6,500 beetles and inputted information about each insect, when it was collected and where it was found into a database.

UBC students examined beetles from UBC’s Beaty Biodiversity Museum collection and found that the insects were shrinking in response to climate change. CREDIT UBC

“We got data from 100 years of caught specimens,” said Sina Soleimani, one of the students who co-authored the paper and is now pursuing a doctor of pharmacy at UBC. “It’s cool that people have been collecting these insects since 1910 and noting all of their collection information. That’s probably what makes our paper stand out.”

The students measured whether the beetles had changed in size in the last 40 or 100 years. The students then used a climate database from the faculty of forestry to gather data about changes in the environment for the two regions where the beetles lived. They found that the Lower Mainland has seen a 1.6 C increase in autumn temperatures and the Okanagan has seen a 2.25 C increase in autumn temperatures over the last 45 years.

At first, the data didn’t indicate a clear trend – some beetles were shrinking, some were not. But by taking a closer look, they found that it was the larger beetles that were shrinking, while the smaller ones were not. The four largest species of beetles shrunk 20 per cent in the last 45 years.

“When these organisms were collected, I don’t think anyone ever thought that they were collecting them so we could monitor how they are changing,” said Tseng. “Museum collections contain more biodiversity now than will ever be collected again. It’s incredible that the diversity of collections in museums can help us understand and predict how organisms might change in the future.”

The students collected the data as part of their class assignment but to assemble all the information into one research paper took some extra work. Nine students continued to work on the project well after the class was over and they had graduated from UBC.

“This is my first paper that I’m publishing and it’s one-and-a-half years after the class ended,” said Katrina Kaur, who is now completing a master’s degree at the University of Toronto and returning to UBC in the new year to start a PhD. “It was a valuable experience as an undergraduate student. It was tough but I’m glad I stayed involved and saw it through.”


The study was published today in the Journal of Animal Ecology

Of course, one of the things these kids didn’t consider might be the fact that as the beetle collection grew, the collectors might be subconsciously selecting for capturing smaller beetles to save space.

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January 30, 2018 1:53 pm

Of course things like that most of the old-growth forest has been replaced by secondary forest (or even apple-trees in the Okanagan valley) wouldn’t affect the beetles.
As a matter of fact it is particularly the larger species that are dependent on old forest, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it is more difficult to find really first-class specimens of them nowadays.

Bryan A
Reply to  tty
January 30, 2018 2:01 pm

People just aren’t going to know what Beetles are

Max Dupilka
Reply to  Bryan A
January 30, 2018 2:39 pm

In the past 40 years or so a very large portion of the farmland in the Okanagan has been taken over by vineyards. I remember, as a kid, we would always do our summer vacations in the southern Okanagan. There were lots of farms and pasture land back in the 1960s. Now that land has been converted to vineyards as wine pays a lot more than cows. I lived in Kelowna, in the Okanagan for a while, and it is sad to see all the farms gone and replaced by rather sterile vineyards with all the vines in neat rows.
Not a very attractive environment for large beetles to prosper in with all the chemical spraying. I miss the cows.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Bryan A
January 30, 2018 2:42 pm
Ron Long
Reply to  Bryan A
January 30, 2018 2:58 pm

Honey, I shrunk the Beatles! What will Trump do next?

Extreme Hiatus
Reply to  Bryan A
January 30, 2018 3:11 pm

First, I can say from personal experience that Max Dupilka’s comment above is right on, but there’s more to it. Along with conversion of pasturelands and orchards to vineyards there has been huge population growth, with housing replacing huge swaths of formerly green spaces.
Which brings me to the second point: this supposed temperature increase – 2.25 C in 45 years – is bogus due to UHI. Look at where the weather stations are.
Moreover, why did they use some ‘forestry’ data instead of the Environment Canada data?
Why use – cherry pick – the autumn temperature? How would that supposedly impact the size of insects compared to summer temperatures? Or did they choose species that just started growing then – sheesh!!!
Anyhow, strike two for University of BC ‘science’ in the past few days (adding the ‘birds and mammals can survive climate change’ fairytale) but they actually struck out long ago.
Feel sorry for all the UBC grads whose degrees are degraded by this kind of junk.

Max Dupilka
Reply to  Bryan A
January 30, 2018 3:27 pm

I certainly agree with Hiatus and the remarks about UBC. I have had dealings with some profs, and what is being taught is mostly “fun” environmental science. The students are being fed junk. As said, UBC struck out long ago.

Extreme Hiatus
Reply to  Bryan A
January 30, 2018 3:40 pm

Max – totally off topic but, based on your last name, I think I know one of your birdwatching relatives.

Max Dupilka
Reply to  Bryan A
January 30, 2018 5:22 pm

Hiatus – I don’t half my relatives, so its possible.

Reply to  Bryan A
January 30, 2018 10:33 pm

Much less drive one.

Staffan Ringbom
Reply to  tty
January 31, 2018 12:51 am

Also my first thought. A selection bias. If there are plenty of large beetles the largest are screened to the collection as they look better.

Reply to  Staffan Ringbom
January 31, 2018 10:35 am

This is off topic, but funny “collection selection bias” brought to mind from the pic of insect collection.. My dad got involved in a brief panic in the late 1950’s when an oriental fruit fly was found in a SoCal insect survey trap. Made LA Times headlines when found for its potential ruin to fruit growers. Later made headlines second time when my (entomologist) Dad while examining the find under microscope saw a tiny pin hole in each wing. Yeah, “trapped” fly was sourced from someone’s collection.

Lee L.
Reply to  tty
January 31, 2018 1:40 am

I encourage you to go over to Berkeley Earth and see the data they gathered ‘by location’.
I live in Vancouver, BC so I clicked on that city and at the same time, got the calculated temperature anomaly RATE of change in degrees C per century for British Columbia ( where these beetles live(d)) and at the same time Washington State where the same kind of bugs live. Clicking on Vancouver Wa then gave me the data for Oregon.
Taken over 1990 until present the following Land and sea temp anomaly rate of change as published on the B E website:
British Columbia -.04 +/- .32 degrees C per century.
Washington State -.54 +/- .41 degrees C per century
Oregon -.33 +/- .29 degrees C per century
This doesn’t look much like warming in my neck of the woods.
Perhaps these guys just didnt think to check if things were actually getting warmer in the area of study?

January 30, 2018 1:58 pm

Haaaa ha ha h ahahahha …..sigh…..I did an experiment the other day that proves a duck is made out of wood! Wood floats and ducks float…so therefore ducks are made of wood.
My God, when is the insane-o sciency gravy train going to be derailed? The US is twenty trillion dollars in debt…this type of idiocy must be brought to an end. It is not pure science, it is pure idiocy.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Bill
January 30, 2018 3:46 pm

Hey – I have PERSONALLY seen a duck made out of wood.

Extreme Hiatus
Reply to  Joel Snider
January 30, 2018 4:50 pm

“Hey – I have PERSONALLY seen a duck made out of wood.”
So have many flying ducks – but many of them figured that out too late!
And there are Wood Ducks.

Reply to  Joel Snider
January 30, 2018 4:50 pm

When I see flying wood, I duck.

michael hart
Reply to  Joel Snider
January 30, 2018 5:38 pm

Isn’t it good, Norwegian wood?

David Chappell
Reply to  Joel Snider
January 30, 2018 8:00 pm

If a wood duck could duck wood, how much wood would a wood duck duck?

Reply to  Joel Snider
January 31, 2018 8:51 am

woody wood ducker

January 30, 2018 1:59 pm

Wonder why organisms can only respond to climate change by shrinking? Couldn’t climate change be beneficial and cause an increase in size or are the effects only negative?

Ron Long
Reply to  Wardoffmonkey
January 30, 2018 3:09 pm

Think dinosaurs!

Reply to  Wardoffmonkey
January 30, 2018 6:53 pm

No, climate change can only be beneficial to pest and invasive species. Think mosquitoes, lice, leeches, etc.

January 30, 2018 1:59 pm

A large cockroach ran into our kitchen yesterday in search of food and I thought to myself, “is Global Warming making these creatures bigger?” Well, clearly I was wrong, I see! Perhaps it’s Global Cooling making them bigger.

Joe Wagner
January 30, 2018 2:00 pm

So- it makes beetles smaller.
How about the effects on snakes and spiders? If it makes them smaller too– BRING ON MORE GLOBAL WARMING!!!

Bryan A
January 30, 2018 2:00 pm

And what exactly would Beetlejuice if his namesake became microscopic?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Bryan A
January 30, 2018 2:55 pm

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice. There I said it 3 times and noth

January 30, 2018 2:01 pm

Larger beetles might have been the choice of earlier collectors, and collection of them removed larger progenitors from the gene pool. There are numerous causes to be considered.
What global warming theory supports reduction in insect size? I thought huge dragonflies existed during the carboniferous.

Reply to  rocketscientist
January 30, 2018 5:41 pm

“I thought huge dragonflies existed during the Carboniferous.”
Yes, they did. It was a bug-friendly environment, partly because the air was heavily loaded with O2, not carbon. The carboniferous term refers to the abundant planet life, such as alethopteris and horsetails, never mind algae in abundance. Some current tropical bugs such as centipedes in Southeast Asia are still up to 4.5 feet long.
The world’s largest spiders live in the tropics. So far, the Giant Huntsman spider, the Madagascar Baboon spider and the Goliath Birdeater spider are the world’s largest spiders and they all live in the tropics.
There is also the cave spider in the Middle East, with videos posted online by US troops entertaining these 8-legged ladies crawling up their legs.
Granted, they are arachnids, not insects, but if you want Big Bugs, there is the world’s largest winged cockroach, Megaloblatta longipennis found in Peru, Ecuador and Panama. A preserved female in the collection of Akira Yokokura of Yamagata, Japan, measures 97 mm (3.8 in) in length and 45 mm (1.75 in) across. M. longipennis can have a wingspan of up to 8 in (20 cm). In Florida, the cockroaches are also referred to as ‘palmetto beetles’, and they have wingspans up to six inches and they can fly right into your face. I saw plenty of them when I was stationed there at Pensacola in the mid-1960s.
Those are just a few examples, all from WARM climates/regions. Bugs do NOT like cold.
This “study” is such a load of absolute balderdash, I don’t understand how the instructor can justify the findings. She either knows nothing about insects at all, or she’s making a false correlation to get herself some creds that will easily be proven false.
The conclusions drawn by her are completely incorrect. She knows nothing about bugs. Period.

Reply to  Sara
January 30, 2018 5:53 pm

Bleah. Massive typo: 4.5 feet long is incorrect. Should be 30 cm long. My bad. Didn’t proof first. Sorry.

Reply to  rocketscientist
January 31, 2018 5:46 am

Got it in one. You have a choice when collecting. Larger ones make for nicer displays. So they will be disproportionally selected. Unfortunately stupid people still get to breed….. climate studies summed up in a sentence.

January 30, 2018 2:04 pm

Men will start taking AGW seriously when it’s proven that it causes their “you know what” to shrink.

Reply to  Allencic
January 30, 2018 2:13 pm

In my experience, it’s cooling wot does that 🙂

J Mac
Reply to  Jer0me
January 30, 2018 2:58 pm

AGW? Anthropogenic Genital Warming????
Take a cold shower, Allencic, and record the results ‘before and after’. Seriously…..

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Allencic
January 30, 2018 7:46 pm

January 30, 2018 2:10 pm

This is weird: about the furthest thing from my mind was any AGW speculation regarding the diminishing size of beetles [and, for that matter, shrinkage of whatever else]; however, the very next email in my inbox, next to this one, is one regarding the growing global market for EDIBLE INSECTS!
Who would have thunk it?! You can’t make this stuff up! See following cut/pated headline and link:
Shift in focus towards adopting bug consumption for both human and animal is likely to drive global Edible Insects Industry

Reply to  Johnny Cuyana
January 30, 2018 2:14 pm

That’s the ticket! Insects get smaller in order to be less attractive as human food in a brazenly warming world.

January 30, 2018 2:11 pm

Slimate Clience Nonsense; “The List” Continued
Years ago I learned of “The List,” which is a website that tracked all the ridiculous claims made by slimate climatists. Unfortunately, “The List” is no longer being updated. Going forward, I will attempt to continue the effort started by “The List” and document all the nonsense coming out of the Slimate Clientists. The original “List”: A … Continue reading

January 30, 2018 2:12 pm

” The four largest species of beetles shrunk 20 per cent in the last 45 years.”
I see….so they were the size of house cats in the LIA

January 30, 2018 2:19 pm

Shrinking something. Beetles was not the first choice to come to mind.

Joe- the non climate scientist
January 30, 2018 2:26 pm

What is the ideal size for a species of insects, or the ideal size for a human?
What is the ideal world temperature?
We got more fat people in this planet than ever before, because food is more plentiful
If all the fat people got gym memberships and actually used the gym and lost weight – would that be due to climate change?

January 30, 2018 2:44 pm

I am truly gobsmacked. The very first quote: “In nature, there is so much going on that can affect body size so we weren’t sure we were going to see anything…”. With so much going on that can affect body size, when they determined there was a change in beetle body size, it MUST be Climate Change. What about all the other factors? After all, there appear to be so many of them!
Even that sentence by itself is non-nonsensical. If there is so much going that can affect body size, why should they be surprised when they found it?

Reply to  AussieBear
January 30, 2018 2:45 pm

Sorry about that. non-nonsensical should have been nonsensical…

J Mac
Reply to  AussieBear
January 30, 2018 3:37 pm

I think that might have just been a ‘Freudian Slip’ on your part. To me, their statement soooo incredibly contradictory that even a double negative seems insufficient to disparage it!

January 30, 2018 2:48 pm

Warmunist have lost it. This is beyond science parody, not controlling for land use change.

Reply to  ristvan
January 30, 2018 3:48 pm

worse than that…..beetles might actually be getting smaller….to reach sexual maturity faster…to out compete something else

Max Dupilka
Reply to  ristvan
January 30, 2018 4:09 pm

Don’t try to make sense of this. This comes from UBC “playtime” science department. There is nothing remotely close to scientific research here.

Reply to  ristvan
January 31, 2018 2:39 am

Seems there is a lot they didn’t control for. The precis of the paper does show that they seem to have made some attempt to use randomly collected specimens, though details are not given so we can’t say how good that is.
I would want to ask what steps were taken to ensure that the students didn’t have any clue as to the age of the specimens they were measuring. Subcontracting the measuring process would have been a good idea. This would be vital, as the students were clearly ‘in’ on the object of the exercise. In museum specimens age is usually apparent from the style of setting/preservation/colour and type of card/leakage and rusting of pins, even if the data labels were removed before measurement by another member of the team. In some beetle species most specimens are close to the average size, in others there is a big range of size. Collectors of old had the habit, where size was very variable, of picking the biggest specimens – this would be a major confounding factor. Sex also has a bearing on size, so ideally two sets of figures should have been given. Plenty of other stuff too, as has been pointed out above. Could be a case study in how to avoid error -or not – in experimental designs. Can’t really see why elytron length had to be converted to body mass before comparisons were made (the conversion factor would be different for each sex) however shouldn’t make any difference to the results.
The discourse on the literature of various lab experiments is well laid out. Insects grown indoors often are smaller than those from wild populations and it seems well established that hothouse rearing in the lab would tend to produce smaller adults, in line with reduced generation times.
What is not well established in the study is the relationship of size to microenvironment temperature changes.. Gross regional changes in temperatures (even if 2,25C is correct – really?) would seem a very poor proxy for temps actually experienced by beetles. The choice of autumn maxima as the comparator is strange – firstly, it seems to be a post hoc decision, a selection of that one variable out of 22 climate indicators for temperature or precipitation originally and, secondly -most carabids have ceased their growing phase by autumn. Carabids are predators subject to many other variables during the larval stage,and so perhaps a poor choice for the study, but I guess they are more easily sampled than plant-eating species.
Overall, it is quite a sound project for a student study. Undergrads will have learnt a lot. As for ground-breaking science, not so much.

January 30, 2018 2:53 pm

In order to claim the change in temperature is the cause of the size change they would need to have had a control group that lived at constant temperature and show that the size of that group did not change. Over time there are many things that can cause the size of things to change. It seems there is a growing presumption in science that all changes on the planet are due to global warming, and without global warming nothing would change.

Matt G
January 30, 2018 2:57 pm

Global cooling must be shrinking the beetles then.
The further away from the Tropics, the smaller beetle species generally become.
So for this Article to have any truth?
1) Beetles on Antarctic are huge and biggest on the planet.
2) Beetles around the Tropics are tiny.
3) Arctic Beetles are bigger than virtually all other species, except 1).
The reality
There are no beetles in Antarctica, Arctic species are small and largest species generally around the Tropics.

The Amazon rain forest is home to many large beetles, but none of them compares in length to the titan beetle, Titanus giganteus. The titan beetle is the largest known beetle in the Amazon rain forest and one of the largest insect species in the world. They can grow up to 6.6 inches in length…

Obviously the Amazon rain forest is near the poles because that’s why they are so huge.
Do alarmists ever get anything right?

January 30, 2018 3:06 pm

simply question is it easier to see and so catch big beetles or little ones ?
While you can fairly say big ones , and so firstly you catch the big ones and as times goes on there less ‘big ones ‘ partly because in evolution terms being big becomes a ‘bad thing ‘ being easy to find and catch and given less chance of passing your genes on .
Its speculation of course , but no more so than ‘its climate doom’ claims , although I understand this approach offers easy access to fat grant cheques for very little effort and no actual hard scientific work.

January 30, 2018 3:21 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised is 100 years ago they were more into collecting prime specimen for collections and only selected the biggest of thier catch for mounting. You could do the same with deer antlers. Hunters would only Mount the best – so if I looked at average deer antlers today compared to some Royal’s collection from 100 years ago I too would find a decrease which I could erroneously blame on global warming.

J Mac
January 30, 2018 3:31 pm

In 1962, the VW Beetle had a wheelbase of 94.5 inches and CO2 was 318 ppm.
In 2002, the VW Beetle had a wheelbase of 98.7 inches and CO2 was 373 ppm.
In 2018, the VW Beetle has a wheelbase of 100.1 inches and CO2 is 406 ppm.
The growth of the VW Beetle, arguably the largest beetle on the planet, shows a strong correlation with increasing CO2. I draw 3 possible conclusions from this:
1) CO2 is causing the VW Beetle to grow longer.
2) The VW Beetle is the sole cause of CO2 increasing in our atmosphere.
3) The VW Beetle is deliberately increasing CO2 in our atmosphere because it enhances VW Beetle growth!
Yes – these conclusions are 97% confounded. I’ll need at least $10,000,000 US dollars to resolve this confounding…. maybe more. Please send funds. Do it for the children! Do it for the polar bears! Do it for the planet! Have you done it yet?? Dammit – Do It Already!!!

Extreme Hiatus
Reply to  J Mac
January 30, 2018 3:51 pm

Sorry J Mac but you can’t spin this into a good news story. Yes these Beetles have grown larger but so did the dinosaurs. The North American Beetle population has declined drastically and, if trends continue, is doomed to extinction.
What amazes me is how they even survived during the 1960s-70s when it was cooler and the Ice Age was imminent. The heaters were pretty much useless in the ones I had. On the other hand, they did have great traction in snow.

J Mac
Reply to  Extreme Hiatus
January 30, 2018 4:34 pm

Dinosaurs grew larger from 1962 to present??! };>) I know what you meant EH…
Back in the early ’70s, my sister had a Bug convertible. She asked me to take it for a test drive as it was making a ‘funny noise’. It was making an occasional odd noise in the rear end so I immediately headed back to our parents house, intending to investigate further. As I down shifted into 2nd gear approaching a country stop sign, the left rear dropped onto the rear axle brake backing plate and the left rear wheel rolled past us to bounce to a stop in the roadside ditch. As we slid to a stop, I turned to my sis and said “I think we have found your ‘funny noise’!”

J Mac
Reply to  Extreme Hiatus
January 30, 2018 4:36 pm

PS: Send money, dammit!

Extreme Hiatus
Reply to  Extreme Hiatus
January 30, 2018 4:56 pm

Funny story J Mac. But on the bright side those old Beetles were so simple you could fix just about anything yourself… but I never could make the heater work or work enough for the winters where I was living. At least they had a wind-chill shield!

Reply to  J Mac
January 30, 2018 7:11 pm

Excellent comment J Mac.

Joel Snider
January 30, 2018 3:45 pm

Giant spiders, but shrinking beetles.
AGW sure is fickle.

Extreme Hiatus
Reply to  Joel Snider
January 30, 2018 5:01 pm
Joel Snider
Reply to  Extreme Hiatus
January 31, 2018 12:21 pm

And God forbid we wind up with stupid lizards.

John Bell
January 30, 2018 3:50 pm

How some people just FIXATE on CAGW all day every day, no they will never get it out of their heads…

John of Cloverdale WA
January 30, 2018 4:13 pm

I disagree, beetles have grown bigger due to global warming.comment image

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  John of Cloverdale WA
January 31, 2018 7:03 am

Less stylish too.

Michael Jankowski
January 30, 2018 4:26 pm

“…To date, most of the evidence for organisms shrinking has come from laboratory work where the environment and living conditions can be tightly controlled…”
Well many of the organisms didn’t shrink in the real world analysis. Only the larger beetles did. What sizes of organisms shrink in laboratory work?
Regardless, this is a piss poor study. They didn’t get the results they wanted until they created subgroups after the fact. It’s a good lesson for students to learn, but this should have just been a step towards creating a new study to test the hypothesis.

Bruce Cobb
January 30, 2018 4:39 pm

It’s all about Climate Ghosts, Goblins, and Ghouls with them. Maybe the climate needs an exorcism.

January 30, 2018 5:16 pm

global warming causes shrinking …
Wrong wrong wrong.
cold causes shrinking. no study needed … doesn’t everybody know about shrinkage?

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 30, 2018 5:29 pm

But, global warming may also cause centipedes to get bigger. Recent headline news in Hawaii is the capture of a record 14.5″ venomous centipede — nearly 3″ longer than the previous record. This is another illustration of Panic’s Law on Global Warming consequences: GW causes cute, friendly and beneficial organisms to become smaller, weaker and rarer while ugly, nasty and dangerous ones become bigger meaner and more common.
Story is here.

January 30, 2018 6:17 pm

Anybody remember the joke about the biologist cutting off the frog’s legs one at a time and commanding them to jump? His conclusion, “Frogs with no legs are deaf”
This is study is right up there with that logic. There is not a word about competing explanations or steps taken to rule out confounding variables. The conclusion before they started was that any change in size they found was going to be due to temperature alone, apparently contradicting their opening paragraph.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  SiGraybeard
February 1, 2018 10:17 am

LOL, that’s classic. And SO indicative of the state of “climate science.”

January 30, 2018 6:23 pm

Perhaps the older collections skewed toward the largest specimens. That makes them easier to study.
A friend of mine ties flies of gnats, they make one of many trout foods. He has to use a microscope to see the bug and used another one to help tie the flies. They’re less than an 1/8in. long.

Neil Jordan
Reply to  Philo
January 30, 2018 8:56 pm

I took a fly fishing and fly tying class. Our tied flies were kind of ratty looking. The instructor passed around some professionally-tied flies. He said they were too beautiful and too expensive to get wet. One of the students asked if the fish could tell the difference. After the briefest of pauses, the instructor said, “No.”

January 30, 2018 6:36 pm

Quoting the author’s “Discussion”: – “… maximum spring temperature … has decreased … last 45 years … overall decrease in beetle body size … suggests that increased temperature does NOT {{my capitalization for emphasis}} categorically result in smaller … sizes ….”
Previous section “Results” sub-heading 3.2.1 contains author’s quote: “.., 3 species … decreased in size, … 2 increased, … 3 did not change ….”
Then in “Results” sub-heading 3.2.2. author specifies ” … larger beetles … INCREASE {{my capitalization for emphasis}} in size per degree INCREASE {{my capitalization for emphadis}} spring temperature ….”
It seems to me any press release touting smaller bugs did not pay attention to the author’s specific findings.

Rick C PE
January 30, 2018 7:06 pm

They found that the Lower Mainland has seen a 1.6 C increase in autumn temperatures and the Okanagan has seen a 2.25 C increase in autumn temperatures over the last 45 years.

This would seem to imply that there was not much, if any, increase in temperature in winter, spring and summer. This seems like a sure sign of a cherry pick.
Do these beetles only grow in autumn? I seem to recall that many insects hatch in the spring and grow to maturity pretty quickly. We see fully grown June Bugs around here in, ah … June.

January 30, 2018 8:27 pm

I was a beetle collector myself for decades…..It is the following: Each beetle species produces individuals, which are different in size, up to 400%. You can go to any insect collector´s exhibition and you will see the Goliath or the Hercules beetle in sizes varying from small to very large. Now, a collector is proud of his large specimens and replaces by and by smaller specimens by larger, more impressive ones. I could, in my collectors time, only afford one small “Golden Beetle” from Indonesia, the large beetles stayed in the collection of the big guys. For this reason, older and more renowned collections have bought better and bigger specimens in size and color. Today, they dont seem to care and take all, second and third rate, all, small and medium, what has six legs and crawls.
For this reason, todays beetles are shrunk by global warming.

Tired Old Nurse
January 30, 2018 8:54 pm

I learned that the partial pressure of oxygen determined the maximum size of insects. I guess that wasn’t settled science?

Michael Jankowski
January 30, 2018 9:04 pm

World’s largest beetles are found in the Amazon rain forest. Why not a colder climate?
According to Wikipedia, the world’s largest cockroach is in Australia (I guessed Penn State). Again, why would insects evolve to be so large in such a warm climate if global warming is supposed to drive shrinkage?
Largest insects of several types, according to Wikipedia, seem to be found Down Under, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand…why did they evolve to be so large while their cooler climate brethren are smaller?

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
January 31, 2018 1:05 am

Why the bugs are so big in New Zealand is simple: no mammalian predators. As a matter of fact most of the larger species have either gone extinct, become very rare or are only found on offshore islands since rats came to New Zealand.
The same possiby applies to some extent to Australia-New Guinea, marsupials seem to be less efficient predators than eutherian mammals.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  tty
January 31, 2018 10:32 am

Plenty of reptilian predators.
Lots of large insects in warm climates of Africa as well…no mammalian predators there, either, I presume?
I’m sure you can explain away this entire list then

January 31, 2018 5:13 am

I have been in BC for 50 years. I haven’t noticed that it’s getting warmer. The climate hasn’t changed. We still grow the same things and still can’t grow the same things that we couldn’t grow back then. Sure there is variability from year to year but it still pours rain for 9 months of the years, like it always has, and summers are hot and dry

January 31, 2018 6:11 am

The authors of the study seem to be blithely unaware that the test for significance becomes progressively more stringent as the number of comparisons to “climate variables” goes up. Eg in a Student T test this is proportional to the power of the number of comparisons (crossplots/regressions). Classic example of spurious correlation through regression of multiple variables. Regress enough variables and you will find “explanatory factors”.

January 31, 2018 8:34 am

OF course specimen selection by earlier collectors followed EXACTLY the same criteria used by current collectors, and there was NEVER any effort to ‘collect the biggest of the bugs’ of each species.

Mike Maguire
January 31, 2018 9:55 am

“Scientists expect living organisms to respond to climate change in three ways – by moving to new regions, changing the timing of their life stages or shrinking.”
When the planet greens up with more food for most organisms, along with mostly beneficial warming……………..shrinking but not the opposite?
The main shrinking that seems to be occurring is with regards to the objectivity in the brains of a large group of humans/scientists that do studies like this.

January 31, 2018 10:33 am

These beetles were the lucky ones. Many others were eaten as part of the World Food Substitutes Gathering at UC Davis and Berkeley.

David Long
January 31, 2018 12:50 pm

Gotta vent on a pet peeve here. ‘To shrink,’ a regular verb: Shrink, shrank, shrunk. ‘Honey, I shrank the kids,’ fine. ‘Honey, I’ve shrunk the kids,’ also fine. ‘Honey, I shrunk the kids,’ no, wrong, stop it.
The insects shrunk? No they didn’t. They shrank. But have they shrunk? Yes.
Thank you for your attention. I’m done now.

AGW is not Science
February 1, 2018 12:49 pm

Shrinking? No problem with that. I’ll only be worried if they become GIANT like the ones that used to be the subject of the movies shown as the “Creature Feature” on Saturday nights back when I was a kid.

February 2, 2018 4:27 pm

Funny thing, one thing that I have noticed on my moderately extensive travels is that the warmer the climate, the bigger the bugs.
Even bugs of the same species are larger in warm climates than their relatives in more temperate and colder climates.
But there again, I’m not a “climate scientist”, so what would I know…

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