Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Invasive brown marmorated stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) facilitates feeding of European wasps and ants (Hymenoptera: Vespidae, Formicidae) on plant exudates.

Abstract

The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, is a polyphagous species from eastern Asia, which has spread to America and Europe where it damages many crops. In recently colonized areas, facilitative interactions between H. halys and native insects are poorly investigated. In this study, we report for the first time facilitation of native wasp and ant feeding by H. halys in Europe. The facilitation was related to the outflow of plant exudates caused by H. halys feeding on manna ash trees, where they have aggregated in response to an aggregation pheromone, which then attracted species of Hymenoptera to the infested trees. Trees other than manna ash were not involved in the facilitation between these two taxa. The species that frequently visited infested manna ash were Polistes dominula, Vespa crabro, Formica (Serviformica) cunicularia and Lasius emarginatus, while Polistes cf. nimpha, Vespulagermanica, Crematogaster scutellaris and Tapinomasubboreale were occasional visitors. The numbers of wasps and ants feeding on plant exudates differed at different times in a day, with more Hymenoptera foraging in the afternoon, when more H. halys individuals were actively feeding. Facilitative interactions, such as those recorded in this study, are important for furthering our understanding of the ecology of invasive species in terms of creating sources of food for native organisms.