Non-indigenous species (NIS) are important components of global change, and in order to manage such species it is important to understand which factors affect their success. Interactions with enemies in the new range have been shown to be important for the outcome of introductions, but thus far most studies on NIS-enemy interactions have considered only specialist herbivores in terrestrial systems. Here we present the results from the first biogeographic study that compares herbivore resistance between populations in the native and new region of a non-indigenous seaweed. We show that low consumption of the non-indigenous seaweed by a generalist herbivore is caused by higher chemical defence levels and herbivore resistance in the new range - and not by the failure of the herbivore to recognise the non-indigenous seaweed as a suitable host. Since most seaweed-herbivore interactions are dominated by generalist herbivores, this pattern could be common in marine communities. Our results also reveal that traits used to predict the invasive potential of species, such as their resistance to enemies, can change during the invasion process, but not always in the way predicted by dominant theories.