Biological Invasions

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 1135–1149 | Cite as

Insect invasions of agroecosystems in the western Canadian prairies: case histories, patterns, and implications for ecosystem function

  • Lloyd M. Dosdall
  • Héctor Cárcamo
  • Owen Olfert
  • Scott Meers
  • Scott Hartley
  • John Gavloski
Original Paper


Agroecosystems in the western Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have been invaded by several alien herbivorous insects from several orders and families. These species have caused very substantial reductions in yield and quality of the dominant crops grown in this region, including cereals (primarily wheat, Triticum aestivum L., barley, Hordeum vulgare L., and oats Avena sativa L.), oilseeds (primarily canola, Brassica napus L. and Brassica rapa L., and mustard, Sinapis alba L. and Brassica juncea (L.) Czern.), and pulses (primarily field pea, Pisum sativum L., lentil, Lens culinaris Medik., and chickpea, Cicer arietinum L.). In this study, we used literature searches to identify the major species of insect pests of field crops in western Canada and determine those species indigenous to the region versus species that have invaded from other continents. We summarize invasion patterns of the alien species, and some estimated economic costs of the invasions. We document the invasion and dispersal patterns of the cereal leaf beetle, Oulema melanopus L. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), for the first time in all three provinces. We also report the co-occurrence of its exotic parasitoid, Tetrastichus julis (Walker) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), and implications for classical biological control. We present results of field studies describing the dispersal patterns of a second recent invader, the pea leaf weevil, Sitona lineatus L. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). The implications of invasions in this region are discussed in terms of economic and ecological effects, and challenges posed for pest mitigation.


Oulema melanopus Sitona lineatus Tetrastichus julis Invasive insects Indigenous species Spatial analysis 



This study was funded by the Western Grains Research Foundation, the University of Alberta, the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. We are grateful to N. Cowle, M. Fisher, M. Gretzinger, C. Gretzinger, B. Hoffman, J. Hudak, B. Johnson, D. Kanashiro, T. Larson, and A. Mauro for technical assistance. Special thanks are extended to J. Huber and L. LeSage for confirming identifications of specimens of T. julis and O. melanopus, respectively. We sincerely thank D. Giffen and M.J. Herbut for assistance in preparing the distribution maps. We are very grateful to R. Immerkar and M. Dolinski for assistance in documenting the cereal leaf beetle invasion in northwestern Manitoba.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lloyd M. Dosdall
    • 1
  • Héctor Cárcamo
    • 2
  • Owen Olfert
    • 3
  • Scott Meers
    • 4
  • Scott Hartley
    • 5
  • John Gavloski
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, 4-16B Agriculture-Forestry CentreUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Lethbridge Research CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaLethbridgeCanada
  3. 3.Saskatoon Research CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaSaskatoonCanada
  4. 4.Alberta Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentCrop Diversification Centre SouthBrooksCanada
  5. 5.Saskatchewan Agriculture and FoodReginaCanada
  6. 6.Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural InitiativesCarmanCanada

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