Conservation of co-evolved interactions: understanding the Maculinea–Myrmica complex

Thomas, Jeremy A.; Schonrogge, Karsten. 2019 Conservation of co-evolved interactions: understanding the Maculinea–Myrmica complex [in special issue: Conservation of co‐evolved interactions: understanding the Maculinea‐Myrmica complex] Insect Conservation and Diversity, 12 (6). 459-466.

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1. The six papers in this Special Issue of Insect Conservation and Diversity are presented as a gedenkschrift honouring ground‐breaking contributions made by the late Graham Elmes towards understanding the biology of Myrmica ants and their social parasites. 2. A common theme is that each research paper contributes new knowledge applicable to the future survival of Maculinea (= Phengaris) species of butterflies, which have become flagships for insect conservation across Europe. All Maculinea species are highly specialised, with larvae that feed briefly on a specific foodplant before living underground for 11–23 months as social parasites of Myrmica colonies. 3. This introductory overview provides a brief history of the research that has led to the current collection, with emphasis on Graham Elmes' life and work. It is followed by three research papers that illustrate the diversity, socio‐biology and ecology of Myrmica ants. A fourth describes an extreme adaptation that increases the efficiency with which some populations of Maculinea larvae exploit the resources within Myrmica nests. A fifth, more theoretical, paper models the constraints that typically lead to host specificity among social parasites and explores why host switches are rare and quick.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 1752-458X
Additional Keywords: Myrmica, Phengaris, Maculinea, large blue, conservation, butterflies, ants, social parasite
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 16 Oct 2019 11:36 +0 (UTC)

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