A call to action to protect the unique types of fairies that are helping preserve our ecosystems
A keystone species is a species so important to its ecosystem that if you took it away, the whole ecosystem would collapse. An example of this is the sea otter. Sea otters eat sea urchins, which eat kelp forests, which produce a lot of oxygen. Because sea otters are endangered, there are more sea urchins, which means less kelp forests, and that equals a whole smaller amount of air.
Quite a few fairy species are keystone species, like the moonglow fairy. The moonglow fairy flies up to the moon and back every year in a flutter (that’s what a group of fairies is called!), presumably during the spring. Owls, bats, and other aerial predators rely on this fact to catch a full meal of fairies.
Moonglow fairies are also pollinators to many plants, like trumpet vine, moonflower, and bougainvillea. The typical moonglow fairy lives for five to six years, and when they die, they provide important nutrients to the soil.
Another fairy keystone is the willow fairy, which is one of the few omnivorous fairies. They keep the mosquito population in check so illnesses like malaria and the bubonic plague don’t spread. However, willow fairy habitats are disappearing fast, as they only live in weeping willow trees. This is an example of a keystone species becoming vulnerable. On the IFSO’s (International Fairy Safety Organization) Endangered Fairies List, willow fairies are critically endangered.
The last fairy keystone we are going to discuss is the honeybee fairy. Honeybee fairies are so small they can hitch a ride on the bellies of bees! When the bee lands on a flower, the honeybee fairy dismounts and rolls herself in pollen with the bee. This way, the plants get pollinated twice as fast! But, because honeybee fairies live with honeybees, and honeybees are endangered, honeybee fairies are categorized as extremely vulnerable on the IFSO Endangered Fairies List.
Because so many keystone fairies are endangered, thus endangering their ecosystems, we have to start thinking about the effect our icky plastics and gasses have on them. And we can’t do “quick fixes,” either—we can’t just plant willow trees willy-nilly. We need to stop destroying natural spaces so there are more areas for willow trees to grow.
Fairies and animals influence their ecosystems and us. If we act quickly, we can still fix all the problems we’ve made for ourselves. Starting with the fairies.