David J. Simcox

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Habitat quality and metapopulation effects are the main hypotheses that currently explain the disproportionate decline of insects in cultivated Holarctic landscapes. The former assumes a degradation in habitat quality for insects within surviving ecosystems, the latter that too few, small or isolated islands of ecosystem remain in landscapes for populations(More)
Maculinea butterflies in Europe, and probably most of Asia, are host specific social parasites of various species of Myrmica ants. The latest summary of field data showing the pattern of host specificity by Maculinea is presented. Myrmica ants have been well studied in the laboratory but much less is known about the ecology of their natural populations.(More)
Globally threatened butterflies have prompted research-based approaches to insect conservation. Here, we describe the reversal of the decline of Maculinea arion (Large Blue), a charismatic specialist whose larvae parasitize Myrmica ant societies. M. arion larvae were more specialized than had previously been recognized, being adapted to a single host-ant(More)
Few results of research aimed at solving questions arising from butterfly conservation are rigorously tested by manipulating populations and habitats in the field. Some factors common to successful conservation projects are analysed. In most non-migratory species, population density may vary by up to two orders of magnitude between sites or over time, and(More)
Analyses were made of the habitats of the endangered myrmecophilous butterfly, Maculinea arion, and its host ant, Myrmica sabuleti, in five regions, spanning most of the climatic range of the butterfly in west Europe. Near their altitudinal or north latitudinal limits, both species are confined to warm south-facing slopes where the turf is grazed <3 cm(More)
An emerging problem in conservation is whether listed morpho-species with broad distributions, yet specialized lifestyles, consist of more than one cryptic species or functionally distinct forms that have different ecological requirements. We describe extreme regional divergence within an iconic endangered butterfly, whose socially parasitic young stages(More)
The Red Data Book hoverfly species Microdon mutabilis is an extreme specialist that parasitises ant societies. The flies are locally adapted to a single host, Formica lemani, more intimately than was thought possible in host-parasite systems. Microdon egg survival plummeted in F. lemani colonies > 3 km away from the natal nest, from c. 96% to 0% to < 50%,(More)
Insect social parasites are extreme specialists that typically use mimicry or stealth to enter ant colonies to exploit the rich, but fiercely protected, resources within their nests. Here we show how a parasitic wasp (parasitoid) contrives to reach its host, itself an endangered species of social parasite that lives inside the brood chambers of ant nests,(More)
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