An invasive stink bug as an evolutionary trap for an indigenous egg parasitoid.

Abram, P.K., Gariepy, T.D., Boivin, G., and Brodeur, J. (2014). "An invasive stink bug as an evolutionary trap for an indigenous egg parasitoid.", Biological Invasions, 16(7), pp. 1387-1395. doi : 10.1007/s10530-013-0576-y  Access to full text


Invasive alien species can act as ‘evolutionary traps’ for indigenous parasites and predators when the alien species is accepted as prey or a host but is unsuitable for consumption or development. We tested the relationship between acceptance and suitability of eggs of the invasive alien Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in North America relative to eggs of the indigenous Podisus maculiventris (Pentatomidae) for the indigenous generalist egg parasitoid Telenomus podisi (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae). T. podisi accepted 0–24 h old H. halys eggs at a rate similar to P. maculiventris eggs (87.5 ± 6.0 and 70.2 ± 9.1 %, respectively). Successful development of T. podisi occurred in 98.3 % of attacked P. maculiventris eggs, but was not observed in H. halys eggs. Oviposition by T. podisi did, however, reduce the developmental success of H. halys embryos relative to unattacked controls by 24.1 % in 0–24 h old eggs and 29.6 % in 24–48 h old eggs. We suggest that as H. halys spreads and increases in abundance in North America, it could operate as an evolutionary trap for indigenous egg parasitoids, thereby indirectly causing an increase in population levels of indigenous pentatomids. This predicted indirect effect would be a result of H. halys eggs acting as an egg sink for T. podisi. We also introduce the concept of a ‘time sink’, which may be particularly relevant for parasitoids such as T. podisi that spend considerable time protecting their reproductive investments.

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