Polar Biology

, Volume 30, Issue 9, pp 1195–1201 | Cite as

Colonisation of sub-Antarctic Marion Island by a non-indigenous aphid parasitoid Aphidius matricariae (Hymenoptera, Braconidae)

  • J. E. Lee
  • S. Slabber
  • B. Jansen van Vuuren
  • S. van Noort
  • S. L. ChownEmail author
Original Paper


Over the past two decades seven non-indigenous vascular plant or arthropod species have established reproducing populations at sub-Antarctic Marion Island (46°54′S, 37°55′E). Here we record the eighth establishment, a braconid wasp Aphidius matricariae Haliday, which uses the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi (Linnaeus) as its only host on the island. Molecular markers (18S rDNA and mtCOI) support the conventional taxonomic identification and indicate that all individuals are characterized by a single haplotype. Surveys around the island show that adult abundance and the frequency of aphid parasitism are highest at Macaroni Bay on the east coast, and decline away from this region to low or zero values elsewhere on the coast. The South African research and supply vessel, the SA Agulhas, regularly anchors at Macaroni Bay, and Aphidius sp. have been collected from its galley hold. Current abundance structure, low haplotype diversity, and the operating procedures of the SA Agulhas all suggest that the parasitoid was introduced to the island by humans. Regular surveys indicate that this introduction took place between April 2001 and April 2003, the latter being the first month when this species was detected. The wasp’s establishment has significantly added to trophic complexity on the island. Low haplotype diversity suggests that propagule pressure is of little consequence for insect introductions. Rather, single or just a few individuals are probably sufficient for successful establishment.


Propagule Pressure Parasitoid Wasp Prince Edward Island Aphid Parasitoid Adult Abundance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Jacques Deere and Erika Nortje assisted with the field work, Michelle Greve and two anonymous referees provided constructive comments on a previous version of the manuscript, Jonathan Klopper of Smit Marine provided information on the operating procedures of the SA Agulhas, Kees van Achterberg (National Natural History Museum, Leiden) identified the braconid, and the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism provided logistic support in the field. This work was partially supported by NRF Grant GUN 2069543 to BJVV, and by a Stellenbosch University Botany and Zoology Scholarship to JEL.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Lee
    • 1
  • S. Slabber
    • 1
  • B. Jansen van Vuuren
    • 1
  • S. van Noort
    • 2
  • S. L. Chown
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and ZoologyStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  2. 2.Iziko Museums of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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