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Insect conservation in the southern temperate zones: an overview



Insect conservation in the southern hemisphere lags substantially behind developments in parts of Europe and North America, where the relatively small faunas are better documented, and where a historical culture of natural history has enabled conservation needs to be assessed and addressed by many sympathetic supporters. We contrast this scenario with the much more embryonic knowledge and capability available in Australia, southern Africa, southern South America and New Zealand, all regions with large and incompletely documented insect faunas, but an equivalent array of threats to their survival. While a few individual ‘flagship species’ (mainly within Lepidoptera, Orthoptera and Coleoptera) have been critical in promoting wider interests, in general insects do not signify highly on regional conservation agendas. We offer a perspective of the major needs to counter this.