Identification of pathogens in the invasive hornetVespa velutina and in native hymenoptera (Apidae, Vespidae) from SW-Europe.
Invasive species contribute to deteriorate the health of ecosystems due to their direct effects on native fauna and the local parasite-host dynamics. We studied the potential impact of the invasive hornet Vespa velutina on the European parasite-host system by comparing the patterns of diversity and abundance of pathogens (i.e. Microsporidia: Nosematidae; Euglenozoa: Trypanosomatidae and Apicomplexa: Lipotrophidae) in European V. velutina specimens with those in the native European hornet Vespa crabro, as well as other common Hymenoptera (genera Vespula, Polistes and Bombus). We show that (i) V. velutina harbours most common hymenopteran enteropathogens as well as several new parasitic taxa. (ii) Parasite diversity in V. velutina is most similar to that of V. crabro. (iii) No unambiguous evidence of pathogen release by V. velutina was detected. This evidence together with the extraordinary population densities that V. velutina reaches in Europe (around of 100,000 individuals per km2 per year), mean that this invasive species could severely alter the native pathogenhost dynamics either by actively contributing to the dispersal of the parasites and/or by directly interacting with them, which could have unexpected long-term harmful consequences on the native entomofauna.