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Habitat degradation and climate change are thought to be altering the distributions and abundances of animals and plants throughout the world, but their combined impacts have not been assessed for any species assemblage. Here we evaluated changes in the distribution sizes and abundances of 46 species of butterflies that approach their northern climatic(More)
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)
Ecological studies have been made of all 5 European species of Maculinea. These confirm that M. nausithous and M. rebeli live underground in Myrmica ant nests for 10 months of the year, as has long been known for the other 3 species. The main discovery was that each Maculinea species depends on a single, and different, host species of Myrmica. This(More)
There is growing concern about increased population, regional, and global extinctions of species. A key question is whether extinction rates for one group of organisms are representative of other taxa. We present a comparison at the national scale of population and regional extinctions of birds, butterflies, and vascular plants from Britain in recent(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)
The ant social parasite, Maculinea rebeli shows high levels of host specificity at a regional scale. While 68-88% of caterpillars in the field are adopted by nonhost Myrmica ants, 95-100% of the butterflies emerge from the natural host M. schencki the following year. While retrieval of preadoption caterpillars is specific to the genus Myrmica, it does not(More)
  • J A Thomas
  • 2005
Conservative estimates suggest that 50-90% of the existing insect species on Earth have still to be discovered, yet the named insects alone comprise more than half of all known species of organism. With such poor baseline knowledge, monitoring change in insect diversity poses a formidable challenge to scientists and most attempts to generalize involve large(More)
Ants dominate terrestrial ecosystems through living in complex societies whose organization is maintained via sophisticated communication systems. The role of acoustics in information exchange may be underestimated. We show that Myrmica schencki queens generate distinctive sounds that elicit increased benevolent responses from workers, reinforcing their(More)
Caterpillars of Maculinea arion are obligate predators of the brood of Myrmica sabuleti ants. In the aboratory, caterpillars eat the largest available ant larvae, although eggs, small larvae and prepupae are also palatable. This is an efficient way to predate. It ensures that newly-adopted caterpillars consume the final part of the first cohort of ant brood(More)
We found several rare UK butterflies to be restricted to relatively large and non-isolated habitat patches, while small patches and those that are isolated from population sources remain vacant. These patterns of occurrence are generated by the dynamic processes of local extinction and colonization. Habitat patches act as terrestrial archipelagos in which(More)