Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Influence of reproductive biology on establishment capacity in introduced Hymenoptera species.

Abstract

Introduced species face numerous biological barriers before they can establish in a new environment. Understanding how they overcome these obstacles is crucial for the development of effective risk assessment and regulation. Reproductive biology is known to influence establishment capacity in plants and is widely used for risk assessment. This biological field should receive more attention, and particularly in the case of insects, as they display a wide range of reproductive traits and have a great impact on the economy and environment. Among insects, the order Hymenoptera is of interest for its diversity, both in terms of reproductive traits and introduction history, as invasive species and biological control agents. We review the main reproductive strategies of Hymenoptera, spanning parthenogenesis, sex determination, reproductive parasites and mating strategies, and evaluate their effect on invasive potential. For instance, thelytoky could decrease the strength of Allee effects while Arrhenotoky could increase adaptive potential. A species with complementary sex determination could be more affected by inbreeding than other species, while paternal genome elimination could lead to high levels of homozygosity. Finally, some reproductive behaviours could decrease inbreeding, facilitate mate location or adaptation by encouraging admixture. The two invasive species Apis mellifera scutellata and Leptocybe invasa and the biocontrol agent Aphidius ervi serve as case studies to illustrate the effect of reproductive traits on species capacities to become established in a new area.