Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Landscape-scale forest cover increases the abundance of Drosophila suzukii and parasitoid wasps.

Abstract

Agricultural landscapes rich in natural and semi-natural habitats promote biodiversity and important ecosystem services for crops such as pest control. However, semi-natural habitats may fail to deliver these services if agricultural pests are disconnected from the available pool of natural enemies, as may be the case with invasive species. This study aimed to provide insights into the relationship between landscape complexity and the abundance of the recently established invasive pest species Drosophila suzukii and a group of natural enemies (parasitoid wasps), which contain species that parasitize D. suzukii in native and invaded ecosystems. The importance of landscape complexity was examined at two spatial scales. At the field scale, the response to introduction of wildflower strips was analysed, while the relationship with forest cover was assessed at the landscape scale. Half of the surveys were done next to blueberry crops (Vaccinium corymbosum), the other half was done in landscapes without fruit crops to examine effects of D. suzukii host presence. As expected, the number of observed parasitoid wasps increased with amount of forest surrounding the blueberry fields, but the number of D. suzukii individuals likewise increased with forest cover. Establishment of wildflower strips did not significantly affect the abundance of D. suzukii or parasitoid wasps and insect phenology was similar in landscapes with and without blueberry crops. This suggests that D. suzukii is enhanced by landscape complexity and is largely unlinked from the species group that, in its native range, hosts key natural enemies. Although management practices that rely on enhancing natural enemies through habitat manipulations can contribute to the long-term stability of agroecosystems and to control agricultural pests, other control measures may still be necessary in the short term to counteract the benefits obtained by D. suzukii from natural habitats.