Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Damselfly eggs alter their development rate in the presence of an invasive alien cue but not a native predator cue.

Abstract

Biological invasions are a serious problem in natural ecosystems. Local species that are potential prey of invasive alien predators can be threatened by their inability to recognize invasive predator cues. Such an inability of prey to recognize the presence of the predator supports the naïve prey hypothesis. We exposed eggs of a damselfly, Ischnura elegans, to four treatments: water with no predator cue (control), water with a native predator cue (perch), water with an invasive alien predator cue (spinycheek crayfish) that is present in the damselfly sampling site, and water with an invasive alien predator cue (signal crayfish) that is absent in the damselfly sampling site but is expected to invade it. We measured egg development time, mortality between ovipositing and hatching, and hatching synchrony. Eggs took longer to develop in the signal crayfish group (however, in this group, we also observed high green algae growth), and there was a trend of shorter egg development time in the spinycheek crayfish group than in the control group. There was no difference in egg development time between the perch and the control group. Neither egg mortality nor hatching synchrony differed between groups. We suggest that egg response to signal crayfish could be a general stress reaction to an unfamiliar cue or an artifact due to algae development in this group. The egg response to the spinycheek crayfish cue could be caused by the predation of crayfish on damselfly eggs in nature. The lack of egg response to the perch cue could be caused by perch predation on damselfly larvae rather than on eggs. Such differences in egg responses to alternative predator cues can have important implications for understanding how this group of insects responds to biological invasions, starting from the egg stage.