Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 699–709 | Cite as

Strangers in a strange land: do life history traits differ for alien and native colonisers of novel environments?

  • Helen F. NahrungEmail author
  • Anthony J. Swain
Original Paper


Do alien invasive species exhibit life history characteristics that are similar to those of native species that have become pests in their continent of origin? We compared eucalypt specialists that have become pests in Australian plantations (natives) to those that have established overseas (aliens) using 13 life history traits and found that although traits that support rapid population build-up were shared, overall, aliens and native colonisers differed significantly. Distance from source (New Zealand vs. other) had no significant effect, but species that established more than 50 years ago exhibited different life history traits from those that established within the last 50 years, possibly because of more effective quarantine. Native and alien eucalypt insect invaders differed predominantly in traits that facilitate long-distance movement (pathway traits), compared to traits that facilitate establishment and spread. Aliens had longer adult flight seasons, were smaller and more closely host-associated (cryptic eggs and larvae), had lower incidence of diapause (i.e. were more seasonally plastic) and more generations per year than natives. Thus, studies of species invasive within their country of origin can shed light on alien invasions.


Eucalypt Establishment Invasion biology Pathway 



Our very sincere thanks to Drs Simon Lawson and Ross Wylie (DAFF-Q), Dr Brendan Murphy (CSIRO) and Dr Chenyuan Xu (Griffith University) for discussion and comments, and to Dr David Mayer (DAFF-Q) for additional statistical analyses. Sincere thanks also to Dr Manon Griffiths (DAFF-Q), A/Prof Martin Steinbauer (LaTrobe University), Professor David Walter (USC) and Dr Owen Seeman (Qld Museum) for additional critical comments on the manuscript.


  1. Blackburn TM et al (2011) A proposed unified framework for biological invasions. Trends Ecol Evol 26:333–339PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carnegie AJ (2002) Field guide to common pests and diseases in eucalypt plantations in NSW. Forest Research and Development Division, State Forests of New South Wales, BeecroftGoogle Scholar
  3. Carnegie AJ et al (2008) Healthy hardwoods: a field guide to pests, diseases and nutritional disorders in subtropical hardwoods. Forest and Wood Products Australia, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  4. Collett N (2001) Insect pests of young eucalypt plantations. AgNote AG0700. Forest Science Centre, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  5. Cunningham SA et al (2005) Do Eucalyptus plantations host an insect community similar to remnant Eucalyptus forest? Austral Ecol 30:103–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Little DW, Madden JL (1975) Host preference in the Tasmanian eucalypt defoliating paropsini (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) with particular reference to Chrysophtharta bimaculata (Oliver) and Chrysophtharta agricola (Chapuis). J Aust Entomol Soc 14:387–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dormann CF et al (2013) Collinearity: a review of methods to deal with it and a simulation study evaluating their performance. Ecography 36:27–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Doughty RW (2000) The eucalyptus: a natural and commercial history of the gum tree. The John Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  9. Elliott HJ, de Little DW (1984) Insect pests of trees and timber in Tasmania. The Forestry Commission, HobartGoogle Scholar
  10. Elliott HJ et al (1998) Insect pests of Australian forests. Inkata Press, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  11. GenStat (2011) GenStat for windows, 14th edn. VSN International Ltd, Hermel HampsteadGoogle Scholar
  12. Hayes KR, Barry SC (2008) Are there any consistent patterns of invasion success? Biol Invasions 10:483–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hulme PE et al (2011) Don’t be fooled by a name: a reply to Thompson and Davis. Trends Ecol Evol 26:318PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jeschke JM, Strayer DL (2008) Are threat status and invasion success two sides of the same coin? Ecography 31:124–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kleijunas JT et al (2003) Pest risk assessment of the importation into the United States of unprocessed logs and chips of eighteen eucalypt species from Australia. General Technical Report FPL-GTR-137. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  16. Kolar CS, Lodge DM (2001) Progress in invasion biology: predicting invaders. Trends Ecol Evol 16:199–204PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lawson SA et al (2010) Insect pests of eucalypt plantations in Australia: the next wave? Int For Rev 12:359Google Scholar
  18. Lawton JH, Brown KC (1986) The population and community ecology of invading insects. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B314:607–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Loch AD, Floyd RB (2001) Insect pests of Tasmanian blue gum, Eucalyptus globulusglobulus, in south-western Australia: history, current perspectives and future prospects. Austral Ecol 26:458–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Majer JD et al (1997) Invertebrates in eucalypt formations. In: Williams J, Woinarski J (eds) Eucalypt ecology: individuals to ecosystems. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  21. Majer JD et al (2000) Diversity patterns of eucalypt canopy arthropods in eastern and Western Australia. Ecol Entomol 25:295–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mapondera TS (2008) Molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography of the cryptic species complex Gonipterusscutellatus (Coleoptera, Curculionidae). Honours Thesis, Murdoch UniversityGoogle Scholar
  23. Mayo GM et al (1997) Morphological and electrophoretic taxonomy of the Australian eucalypt blister sawfly genus Phylacteophaga (Hymenoptera: Pergidae): a potential major pest group of eucalypts worldwide. Bull Entomol Res 87:595–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nahrung HF, Allen GR (2003) Geographical variation, population structure and gene flow between populations of Chrysophtharta agricola (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a pest of Australian eucalypt plantations. Bull Entomol Res 93:137–144PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nahrung HF et al (2001) Larval gregariousness and neonate establishment of the eucalypt-feeding beetle Chrysophtharta agricola (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Paropsini). Oikos 94:358–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Paine TD et al (2010) Accumulation of pest insects on Eucalyptus in California: random process or smoking gun? J Econ Entomol 103:1943–1949PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Paine TD et al (2011) Native and exotic pests of Euclayptus: a worldwide perspective. Annu Rev Entomol 56:181–201PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Phillips C (1996) Insects, diseases and deficiencies associated with eucalypts in South Australia. Primary Industries SA Forests, Adelaide, p 160Google Scholar
  29. Pysek P, Hulme PE (2009) Invasion biology is a discipline that’s too young to die. Nature 460:324PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sakai AK et al (2001) The population biology of invasive species. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 32:305–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Simberloff D et al (1989) Which insect introductions succeed and which fail? In: Drake (ed) Biological invasions: a global perspective. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, Hoboken, pp 61–75Google Scholar
  32. Strauss SY (2001) Benefits and rists of biotic exchange between Eucalyptus plantations and native Australian forests. Austral Ecol 26:447–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tauber J et al (1986) Seasonal adaptations of insects. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  34. Thompson K, Davis MA (2011a) Let the right one in: reply to Hulme et al. and van Kleunen et al. Trends Ecol Evol 26:319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Thompson K, Davis MA (2011b) Why research on traits of invasive plants tells us very little. Trends Ecol Evol 26:155–156PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Valery L et al (2009) Invasive species can also be native. Trends Ecol Evol 24:585PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Valery L et al (2013) Another call for the end of invasion biology. Oikos 122:143–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Van Kleunen M et al (2010a) Are invaders different? A conceptual framework of comparative approaches for assessing determinants of invasiveness. Ecol Lett 13:947–958PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Van Kleunen M et al (2010b) A meta-analysis of trait differences between invasive and non-invasive plant species. Ecol Lett 13:235–245PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Van Kleunen M et al (2011) Research on invasive-plant traits tells us a lot. Trends Ecol Evol 26:317PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wardell-Johnson GW et al (1997) Evolutionary biogeography and contemporary distribution of eucalypts. In: Williams J, Woinarski J (eds) Eucalypt ecology: individuals to ecosystems. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  42. Withers TM (2001) Colonization of eucalypts in New Zealand by Australian insects. Austral Ecol 26:467–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, ML 12University of the Sunshine CoastMaroochydore DCAustralia
  2. 2.Agri-Science Queensland, Queensland Department of AgricultureFisheries and ForestryBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations