Evolutionary biology: Butterfly mimics of ants

@article{Thomas2004EvolutionaryBB,
  title={Evolutionary biology: Butterfly mimics of ants},
  author={Jeremy A. Thomas and Josef Settele},
  journal={Nature},
  year={2004},
  volume={432},
  pages={283-284}
}
Large blue butterflies are notable for their rarity and ability to dupe ants, and they are endangered. A genetic reconstruction of how social parasitism evolved among them will overturn conservation priorities. 
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It is shown that there is a different Myrmica host species for each of the five European Phengaris social parasites, but more recent studies have shown that this was an oversimplification. Expand
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The large blue butterfly (Phengaris arion) is an endangered Palaearctic species that was reintroduced into the British Isles after becoming extinct in 1979 and is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Expand
Singing the blues: from experimental biology to conservation application
Summary Chemical communication plays a major role in the organisation of ant societies, and is mimicked to near perfection by certain large blue (Maculinea) butterflies that parasitise Myrmica antExpand
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It is vital that the authors understand how coevolution proceeds if they are to conserve genetic diversity, combat disease and predict the effects of species invasions. Expand
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This data indicates that variation in habitat quality at smaller spatial scales may be of crucial importance for highly specialised Maculinea species, which usually do not form classic metapopulations. Expand
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TLDR
Conservation efforts in Europe mainly aim to preserve and manage ecosystems that contain putatively endangered biotic communities, but this approach may not yield the desired results—particularly in the case of comparatively specialized taxa such as butterflies and other insect groups. Expand
POPULATION DYNAMICS AND CONSERVATION OF A SPECIALIZED PREDATOR: A CASE STUDY OF MACULINEA ARION
TLDR
It is found that the number and spatial distribution of the butterfly's resources are key factors in their population dynamics, especially for M. arion populations in habitats associated with high larval survival and high adult fecundity. Expand
Distribution, host specificity, and the potential for cryptic speciation in hoverfly Microdon myrmicae (Diptera: Syrphidae), a social parasite of Myrmica ants
TLDR
It became apparent that the range of Microdon myrmicae includes at least the western Palaearctic, and it is concluded that Microdon mutabilis should be considered a separate species. Expand
Mimetic host shifts in an endangered social parasite of ants
TLDR
Extreme regional divergence within an iconic endangered butterfly, whose socially parasitic young stages use non-visual, non-tactile cues to infiltrate and supplant the brood in ant societies is described. Expand
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