Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Evidence for mate-encounter Allee effect in an invasive longhorn beetle (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae).

Abstract

Limited empirical support is available for mate-encounter Allee effects in invasive insects due to the logistical challenges of studying demographic trends in low-density populations. Traps baited with pheromone and spruce volatiles were used to monitor the abundance of female Tetropium fuscum F. (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) at multiple sites in Nova Scotia in 2011 and 2012. Each female was dissected to determine the presence or absence of sperm in its spermatheca (mated or virgin female, respectively). Both male and total T. fuscum abundance declined with increasing distance to the focal point of T. fuscum's invasion. Female mating probability declined with male abundance and with distance from the invasion focus, and mating probabilities were very low at the most peripheral sites. Difficulty in encountering mates may thus contribute to limiting the spread of T. fuscum. The approach outlined here could be integrated into existing surveys of wood borers using traps baited with semiochemicals to improve our understanding of the role of the mate-encounter Allee effect in invasion dynamics.