Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A plant virus mediates interspecific competition between its insect vectors in Capsicuum annuum.

Abstract

Plant viruses can modify the performance and behavior of insect vectors to maximize their transmission rates. Whether viruses can evolve to mediate their insect vectors' interspecific competition is poorly understood. Here, we used two vectors of tomato zonate spot virus (TZSV), one native species (Thrips palmi) and one exotic species (Frankliniella occidentalis), to investigate this in laboratory and field experiments. TZSV infection increased the population growth of its insect vectors when the thrips species were isolated from one another. When both species coexisted, F. occidentalis displaced T. palmi on both TZSV-infected and uninfected plants. However, on TZSV-infected plant, F. occidentalis completely displaced T. palmi more rapidly (within 14 days) than on uninfected plants. Our results also revealed that reproductive interference occurred between the two thrips species, whereas TZSV-infected pepper significantly decreased the reproductive interference of T. palmi to F. occidentalis. When F. occidentalis and T. palmi co-occurred in Jinning County, Yunnan Province, we found a rising trend of natural proportions of F. occidentalis in the TZSV-infected pepper fields, suggesting that TZSV-infected pepper enhanced the competitive advantage of F. occidentalis over T. palmi in the field. Together, our findings demonstrate a plant virus that plays an important role in the competitive displacement of its insect vectors.