Chemical defences of native European coccinellid eggs against intraguild predation by the invasive Asian coccinellid, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas)
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Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) is a coccinellid of Asian origin that has recently invaded substantial parts of Europe and is suspected to affect native coccinellid populations through intraguild predation and competition for food. Previous work has shown that two species from the Calvia genus appeared to be well protected against H. axyridis predation. To deepen our understanding on chemical protection of Calvia spp. and the predation risk by H. axyridis, we tested for susceptibility and palatability of Calvia spp. and H. axyridis eggs against predation by H. axyridis neonate larvae. Results show that eggs of C. quatuordecimguttata were mostly not eaten by H. axyridis, while eggs of the congeneric C. decemguttata were found to be largely unprotected against predation by the invasive coccinellid. We also observed that H. axyridis first instars successfully cannibalized on conspecific eggs. Removing the surface chemicals from C. quatuordecimguttata eggs resulted in significantly reduced protection from being preyed upon by H. axyridis, while applying these extracts onto C. decemguttata and H. axyridis eggs resulted in increased protection against H. axyridis larvae. The importance of surface chemicals in the interactions between H. axyridis and native coccinellids was confirmed by GC–MS analysis, showing a high diversity of hydrocarbons located on the surface of C. quatuordecimguttata eggs, i.e. more than twice as many when compared to C. decemguttata. Survival of H. axyridis larvae feeding on eggs of C. quatuordecimguttata, C. decemguttata or conspecific eggs, from which surface chemicals were removed by washing them with hexane, was not different from survival on unwashed eggs.
KeywordsCoccinellidae Invasive predator Chemical defences Intraguild predation
The “Evolution et Diversité Biologique” laboratory, is part of the “Laboratoire d’ Excellence” LABEX TULIP (ANR-10-LABX-41). The authors wish to thank C. Ducamp for valuable exchanges on chemical methods, and G. Espinasse for technical support. We are also thankful to Dr. Jean-Louis Hemptinne and Dr. Remy Poland for helpful discussions. We also thank the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments on the manuscript. This work was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant no. 3100A0-117831/1).
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