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The special biological properties of the arthropods –– their size, unfamiliarity and huge diversity –– together with a shortage of both knowledge and expertise presents particular problems for their conservation. Five key questions are addressed here. The first of these asks if the protection of individual species actually enhances the likelihood of them remaining extant. The paper then examines whether or not the protection of individual species diverts effort from habitat and ecosystem conservation. Third I address the question: does the protection of species significantly reduce the vital activities of amateur scientists. Having suggested, on balance, that protecting individual species is valuable the paper then poses two additional questions. How do we go about selecting species for individual recognition under conservation legislation, and how do we manage invertebrate conservation once such legal protection exists? Finally the paper reflects on the need for the present “ad hoc” phase of invertebrate conservation to be replaced in an evolutionary fashion by a better informed process of both species selection and management, linked to vitally important parallel developments in the conservation and management of functioning ecological communities.

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