Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

An intercontinental comparison of insect seed predation between introduced and native oaks.

Abstract

Novel interactions between introduced oaks and their natural enemies across different continents provide an opportunity to test the enemy release hypothesis (ERH) at local and global scales. Based on the ERH, we assessed the impacts of native seed-feeding insects on introduced and native oaks within and among continents. We combined a common-garden experiment in China and biogeographic literature surveys to measure seed predation by insects and the proportion of acorn embryos surviving after insect infestation among 4 oak species with different geographical origins: Quercus mongolica origin from China, Q. robur and Q. petraea from Europe, and Q. rubra from North America. Mostly supporting the ERH, oaks in introduced continents escaped seed predation compared to those in native continents and compared to other native oaks in introduced continents. Common-garden comparisons showed that total acorn infestation rate of introduced Q. rubra (section Lobatae) was considerably lower than that of native oaks (section Quercus) in China and Europe, likely because of the differences in seed traits associated with different oak sections. Literature surveys showed that seed predation of introduced oaks was lower in the introduced continent than in the native continent. Embryo survival was higher in introduced Q. rubra than native oaks in China and Poland. However, insect seed predation of recently introduced Q. rubra in China was similar to that in Europe, which is not consistent with the ERH. Our results suggest that reduced acorn attack by native insects and higher embryo survival after acorn damage could increase the establishment success or invasion risk of introduced oaks in non-native continents.