Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Tracking the invasion of the alien fruit pest Drosophila suzukii in Europe.

Abstract

Biological invasions are a leading threat to native wildlife, human health and food production worldwide. Understanding the invasion history helps identifying introduction pathways and organizing integrated management strategies especially aimed at avoiding multiple reintroductions. We coupled a recently developed spatial analysis (Geographic profiling) with trade flows quantification to identify the most likely spreading centre of a recent invader of Europe, the spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii. This polyphagous vinegar fly recently colonized western countries, where it is heavily threatening fruit production causing severe economic losses. Characterized by a rapid spread and a huge impact, the invasion of this pest has a few precedents and it is becoming a model in invasion biology and pest management. Thanks to our spatial approach based on data presence of D. suzukii in European countries in the very first years of it spread, we update the current knowledge of a first spread in Spain and Italy, suggesting on the contrary that the South of France may be the most likely spreading centre of D. suzukii in Europe. Estimates of propagule pressure (fresh host fruits importation) support this finding as imports from contaminated South East Asian countries are higher in France than in Spain or Italy. Our study provides a first step in the comprehension of invasion history of this pest species and emphasizes geographic profiling as an efficient technique to track down invaders colonization patterns.