First discovery of Vespa velutina nigrithorax du Buysson (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), an invasive hornet in the feces of the yellow-throated marten in South Korea.
Yellow-throated martens (YTMs) are omnivores that often prey on wasps in late autumn in Korea. However, to the best of our knowledge, predation of the invasive alien species Vespa velutina nigrithorax (VVN) has not previously been investigated. In this study, YTM feces were collected and analyzed from Mt. Onggangsan, Sinwon-ri, Cheongdo, South Korea, where VVN density was high and YTMs were active. Surveys were conducted three times between October and December 2019, during which a total of 22 samples were collected. Debris from VVN was found in three samples, along with evidence of two indigenous wasps, Vespa crabro and Vespula koreensis. The VVN remains were identified as one queen, four males, one female, and one individual whose caste was unclear. Martens prey on wasps, owing to a sudden decrease in plant food sources from late autumn to early winter, mostly eating males and new queens attempting to mate. If VVN reproduction is prevented or disturbed by YTM predation, there may be potential biological control effects in areas with high VVN density. Further studies should be conducted to verify whether there is a practical biological control effect.