The invasive coccinellid Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is a less suitable host for parasitism than resident species

Violeta Romero, Tania Zaviezo, Audrey Grez


Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) has invaded most continents in the world, including South America. In Chile, it became invasive after 2010, turning into a dominant species in coccinellid guilds in alfalfa crops, where it coexists with the introduced species Hippodamia variegata (Goeze) and the native species Eriopis chilensis Hofmann, the populations of which declined after the invasion of H. axyridis. One of the echanisms attributed to the success of invasive species is the enemy release hypothesis (ERH), which predicts that natural enemies will have a lesser impact on the invasive species in the newly invaded areas than on resident species. Dinocampus coccinellae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a cosmopolitan parasitoid of coccinellids, which vary in their suitability to parasitism according to species and location. The present study evaluated whether H. axyridis is a less suitable host than H. variegata and E. chilensis for D. coccinellae by assessing each step in the parasitism process, from oviposition to adult emergence in field and laboratory conditions. In the field, successful parasitism in H. axyridis (7%) was significantly lower than in H. variegata (33%) and E. chilensis (36%). H. axyridis was also the only species in which failed parasitoid larval development was greater than successful parasitism (adult emergence). In the laboratory, D. coccinellae never successfully oviposited in H. axyridis, while it did in the other two species. These results suggest that in Chile, H. axyridis is a less suitable host than the resident species for D. coccinellae. This mechanism, among others, may explain the dominance of this species in this early stage of invasion.


Dinocampus coccinellae, Eriopis chilensis, Hippodamia variegata, ladybird beetles, natural enemies

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