Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The relevance of ethology in insect conservation.

Abstract

The current "biodiversity crisis" has influenced the birth of Conservation Biology as a scientific discipline, which has developed in parallel with the birth and maturity of another ecological science: the scientific study of behaviour. In spite of this temporal coincidence, the exchanges between Conservation Biology and Behavioural Ecology have been scarce, particularly in the case of arthropods. In this paper, we review some areas of insect conservation where ethology can provide management solutions and techniques: habitat selection, captive breeding and reintroduction, pest and invasive species control, conservation of insect-plant mutualisms and other interactions, design of protected areas and corridors and biodiversity assessments. We discuss some practical examples of the evaluation of arthropod diversity using sounds, the relevance of behaviour of Lycaenid ant parasites in the conservation of these butterflies, the behaviour of invasive species, some examples of behavioural attributes that can be used to predict extinction risks, and how dispersal behaviour affects the vulnerability of insect populations. Finally, it is argued that the conservation of behaviours is part of the conservation of biodiversity, since the behaviour is a level of biodiversity that usually is not taken into account. Given the intrinsic and scientific interest of behaviour, the conservation of insects can not leave ethology aside (or is it the other way around?).