Hymenoptera, the bees, wasps and ant, are one of the largest insect orders, and have massive ecological importance as pollinators and as predators or parasitoids of other insects. These roles have brought them forcefully to human notice , as governors of some key ecological services that strongly influence human food supply. Recent declines of pollinators and introductions of alien pests or biological control agents are only part of the current concerns for conservation of Hymenoptera, and of the interactions in which they participate in almost all terrestrial ecosystems. Both pests and beneficial species abound within the order, sometimes closely related within the same families. Many taxa are both difficult to identify, and very poorly known. This global overview, the first such account for the whole of the Hymenoptera, discusses a broad range of themes to introduce the insects and their conservation roles and needs, and how their wellbeing may be approached. The book is intended as a source of information for research workers, students, conservation managers and naturalists as an introduction to the importance of this dominant insect order.
Emeritus Professor Tim New, from the Department of Zoology, La Trobe University, Melbourne has broad interests in insect conservation, ecology and systematics. He has published extensively on these topics and is recognised as one of the leading advocates for insect conservation.
Preface vii Acknowledgements xii 1 Introducing Hymenoptera and their Conservation 1 Perspective 1 Classification and diversity 1 Importance for conservation 14 Social life and conservation 24 2 Alien Hymenoptera in Classical Biological Control 28 Introducing a dilemma 28 Conservation concerns 28 3 The Junction of Biological Control and Conservation: Conservation Biological Control and Cultural Control 41 4 Introduced Bees: Threats or Benefits? 51 5 Social Wasps and Ants as Aliens 63 Social wasps 63 Ants 68 Current perspective 79 6 Pollinator Declines 82 Introducing the concerns 82 Threats to pollinators 92 Pathogens and parasites 93 Pesticides 97 Pollution 99 7 Levels of Conservation Concern and the Shortcomings of Current Practice 100 Foci for conservation 100 Species focus 104 Biotope and habitat focus 122 8 Habitat Parameters and Manipulation 138 Defining and assessing habitats in the landscape 138 Habitat manipulations for conservation 141 Natural and agricultural environments 141 Urban environments 147 Practical conservation 150 9 Species Case Histories 168 Franklin s bumblebee (Bombus franklini) 170 The great yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus) 170 Wallace s bee (Chalicodoma pluto) 173 Neopasiphae simplicior in Western Australia 174 The antennal-waving wasp (Tachysphex pechumani) 174 The dinosaur ant (Nothomyrmecia macrops) 175 The red-barbed ant (Formica rufi barbis) in Britain 177 10 Assessing Conservation Progress and Priorities for the Future 179 Introduction: The basic need 179 Monitoring 180 The milieux of concern 185 References 191 Index 214