Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Temporal patterns in the abundance and species composition of spiders on host plants of the invasive moth Epiphyas postvittana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae).

Abstract

Generalist predators such as spiders may help mitigate the spread and impact of exotic herbivores. The lack of prey specificity and long generation times of spiders may allow them to persist when pests are scarce, and to limit the growth of pest populations before they reach damaging levels. We examined whether resident spiders are likely to play a role in maintaining populations of the invasive light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), below outbreak levels in California. We surveyed the spider community on two E. postvittana host plants, the ornamental Australian tea tree, Leptospermum laevigatum, and the weed French broom, Genista monspessulana, to characterize spider and larval E. postvittana abundance and spider species composition throughout the year. Spider densities and species composition showed slight seasonal changes. Spiders were present during periods of high and low E. postvittana abundance. Anyphaenid hunting spiders, Anyphaena aperta Banks in Australian tea tree and Anyphaena pacifica Banks in French broom, dominated spider species composition at four of five sampled sites, and underwent only slight seasonal variation in abundance. Adult A. aperta were rare at all times of the year, suggesting that high mortality among juvenile A. aperta limits the potential of this species as a predator of E. postvittana. Nevertheless, the continued presence of spiders throughout the year indicates that the resident spider community is likely to play a key role in reducing E. postvittana populations in California.