We need more emojis of microorganisms, fungi, insects and plants to help protect nature fully

We need more emojis of microorganisms, fungi and plants to help protect nature fully

Certain organisms, plants and fungi are underrepresented in emojis and the error needs to be rectified in order to help promote nature conservation fully according to a team of Italian biologists.

The team analysed the available emojis from the emoji library curated by the Emojipedia website.

They found certain species to be overrepresented and other species to be underrepresented. They want to fill the gaps and see a better balance across the board of all the species represented by emojis.

For instance, they believe that microorganisms such as bacteria are underrepresented because there’s simply one emoji bacterium at present.

And there’s one mushroom emoji currently representing the fungi kingdom which isn’t enough (see above).

The researchers from the National Research Council and National Biodiversity Future Center in Italy found that the large animals were better represented while the small ones were not. They identified 112 depicting living things of which 92 were animals, 16 were plants, one was a fungus and there was one microorganism.

Of the 92 animals 76% were vertebrates while 16% were arthropods (such as insects with exoskeletons). 4% were molluscs such as snails and 2% were cnidarians (jellyfish). 1% of those listed in the encyclopaedia were annelids which is a reference to the worm emoji.

The scientists felt that there was potential for bias towards larger animals and a potential for a lack of awareness/appreciation over many other endangered species which were less well-known and generally a lot smaller.

They reported in the journal iScience:

“Currently available emojis encompass a broad range of animal species, while plants, fungi and microorganisms are underrepresented. While the biodiversity crisis may seem distant from the online world, in our increasingly digitised society, we should not underestimate the potential of emojis to raise awareness and foster appreciation for the diversity of life on Earth.”

Scientific research report.

The single worm emoji shows a segmented earthworm but there are no flat worms or nematodes of which there are 20,000 species. Although there has been an increase in animal emoji is from 45 in 2015 to 92 in 2022.

Currently, emoji’s are created on the back of high use for a particular term that is googled. That may be the wrong way to initiate the creation of an emoji as many species don’t qualify under this system. There is a requirement to develop emoji’s for lesser-known and endangered species which will help campaigners and conservationists in protecting them.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
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Post Category: Conservation