Insect Conservation

UFZ-Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Department of Community Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4, 06120 Halle, Germany.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 08/2009; 325(5936):41-2. DOI: 10.1126/science.1176892
Source: PubMed
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    • ", 2005 ; Thomas et al . , 2009 ; Settele and Kühn , 2009 ) . In spite of the short duration of our study , we found statistically significant and / or qualitatively informative effects of management on the interacting species examined . "
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    ABSTRACT: As part of a major transformation of the EU agriculture in the last few decades, traditional land-use types disappeared due to either intensification or abandonment. Grasslands are highly affected in this process and are consequently among the most threatened semi-natural habitats in Europe. However, experimental evidence is scarce on the effects of management types on biodiversity. Moreover, management types need to be feasible within the recently changed socio-economic circumstances in Hungary. We investigated the effects of timing and frequency of mowing on the abundance of the scarce large blue butterfly (Phengaris teleius), on the abundance of its host plant and on the frequency of its host ant species. In each of four study meadows, we applied four types of management: one cut per year in May, one cut per year in September, two cuts per year (May and September) and cessation of management. After three years of experimental management, we found that adult butterflies preferred plots cut once in September over plots cut twice per year and abandoned ones, while plots cut once in May were also preferred over abandoned plots. Relative host plant abundance remarkably increased in plots cut once in September. Management did not affect the occupancy pattern of Myrmica host ants. Invasive goldenrod was successfully retained by two cuts per year. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to test management effects on the whole community module of a socially parasitic butterfly, its host plant and host ants. Based on the results, we provide recommendations on regional management of the scarce large blue's habitats.
    Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 10/2014; 196:24–33. DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2014.06.019 · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    • "The field of insect conservation is littered with enormous challenges (Stewart et al. 2007). Among insects, butterflies possess well-known ecological preferences and respond to the action of drivers of change even more strongly and faster than other well-studied taxa, such as birds and vascular plants (Warren et al. 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Although most conservationists claim to protect “species”, the conservation unit actually and practically managed is the individual population. As resources are not unlimited, we need to focus on a restricted number of populations. But how can we select them? The Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU), first conceptualised by Ryder in 1986, may offer some answer. Several definitions have been proposed for the ESU, but all make reference to units “whose divergence can be measured or evaluated by putting differential emphasis on the role of evolutionary forces at varied temporal scales”. Thus, an ESU might be fully identical with a “species”, or a “species” could be composed of multiple ESUs. On the other hand, an ESU might comprise single/multiple populations exchanging a degree of gene flow, such as meta-populations. In an attempt to show strengths and weaknesses of ESU concepts, we present here, among several others, some case studies on the myrmecophilous butterflies of the genus Maculinea. In particular, we analyse the apparently everlasting debate about Maculinea alcon and M. rebeli, whose separation into separate species has been accepted by many authors, on mainly ecological criteria, but has not been fully supported by molecular analyses. We also discuss how the tight association with host ants may have driven selection for increasingly more strictly adapted Maculinea populations, arguably deserving specific taxonomic identity. Finally we discuss how current DNA analyses may fail to detect critical information on differences between taxa recently originated by the action of separate adaptive processes, which non-molecular studies can sometimes reveal. We conclude by discussing some current and often conflicting taxonomic trends, in their relationships with conservation policies.
    Italian Journal of Zoology 06/2014; DOI:10.1080/11250003.2013.870240 · 0.79 Impact Factor
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    • "Maculinea spp. (Settele et al. 2005, Settele and Kühn 2009), and may also have some taxonomic implications. Furthermore, the host ant and host plant usage of Maculinea alcon has been thought to be important for taxonomic separation (Thomas et al. 1989) of the hygrophilous (‘Maculinea alcon H’ below) and the xerophilous (‘Maculinea alcon X’) form of Maculinea alcon, although recent studies have been unable to show any consistent genetic separation between these two butterflies (Als et al. 2004, Bereczki et al. 2005, Ugelvig et al. 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: AbstractThe taxonomy of the myrmecophilous Maculinea alcon group (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) is highly debated. The host-plant and host-ant usage of these butterflies have conventionally been important in their identification. Maculinea ‘rebeli’ has generally been considered to be the xerophilous form of Ma. alcon (Ma. alcon X hereafter) with Gentiana cruciata as initial food plant. However, the type locality and all other known sites of Ma. rebeli are found above the coniferous zone, and are well separated from the lower regions where Ma. alcon X sites are found. Furthermore, no food plant and host ant data for the nominotypic Ma. rebeli have yet been published. Our aim was therefore to identify the host ant(s) of Ma. rebeli around the type locality and compare this with the host ant usage of nearby Ma. alcon X. Nests of Myrmica spp. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) close to the host plants were opened on one Ma. alcon X (host plant: Gentiana cruciata) and two Ma. rebeli (host plant: Gentianella rhaetica, first record, confirmed by oviposition and emerging larvae) sites just before the flying period, to find prepupal larvae and pupae. Three Myrmica species (My. lobulicornis, My. ruginodis, My. sulcinodis) were found on the two Ma. rebeli sites, which parasitized exclusively My. sulcinodis (22 individuals in 7 nests). On the Ma. alcon X site Myrmica sabuleti and My. lonae were found, with My. sabuleti the exclusive host (51 individuals in 10 nests). Ichneumon cf. eumerus parasitized both butterflies. The results highlight the differentiation of Maculinea rebeli from Ma. alcon X, from both conservation biological and ecological points of view. Thus, it should be concluded that Ma. rebeli does not simply represent an individual form of Ma. alcon but it can be considered as at least an ecological form adapted to high mountain conditions both in its initial food plant and host ant species. In addition, it should be emphasized that Ma. alcon X (= Ma. rebeli auct. nec Hirschke) cannot be synonymised with Ma. rebeli (Hirschke, 1904).
    ZooKeys 04/2014; 406(406):25-40. DOI:10.3897/zookeys.406.7124 · 0.93 Impact Factor
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