Zhang, G-F., Lövei, G.L., Wu, X. & Wan, F-H. (2016) Presence of native prey does not divert predation on exotic pests by Harmonia axyridis in its indigenous range.PLOS One, 11(7), e0159048. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0159048 (IF2016 2,806; Q1 Multidisciplinary Sciences)
In China, two invasive pests, Bemisia tabaci MEAM1 (Gennadius) and Frankliniella occidentalis(Pergande), often co-occur with the native pest, Aphis gossypii (Glover), on plants of Malvaceae and Cucurbitaceae. All three are preyed on by the native ladybird, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas); however, the native predator might be expected to prefer native prey to the exotic ones due to a shared evolutionary past. In order to clarify whether the presence of native prey affected the consumption of these two invasive species by the native predator, field-cage experiments were conducted. A duplex qPCR was used to simultaneously detect both non-native pests within the gut of the predator. H. axyridis readily accepted both invasive prey species, but preferred B. tabaci. With all three prey species available, H. axyridis consumption of B. tabaci was 39.3±2.2% greater than consumption of F. occidentalis. The presence of A. gossypii reduced (by 59.9% on B. tabaci, and by 60.6% on F. occidentalis), but did not stop predation on the two exotic prey when all three were present. The consumption of B. tabaci was similar whether it was alone or together with A. gossypii. However, the presence of aphids reduced predation on the invasive thrips. Thus, some invasive prey may be incorporated into the prey range of a native generalist predator even in the presence of preferred native prey.