Biological Invasions

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 893–905 | Cite as

Global compositional variation among native and non-native regional insect assemblages emphasizes the importance of pathways

  • Andrew M. LiebholdEmail author
  • Takehiko Yamanaka
  • Alain Roques
  • Sylvie Augustin
  • Steven L. Chown
  • Eckehard G. Brockerhoff
  • Petr Pyšek
Insect Invasions


Insects are among the world’s most ecologically and economically important invasive species. Here we assemble inventories of native and non-native species from 20 world regions and contrast relative numbers among these species assemblages. Multivariate ordination indicates that the distribution of species among insect orders is completely different between native and non-native assemblages. Some orders, such as the Psocoptera, Dictyoptera, Siphonaptera, Thysanoptera, and Hemiptera, are always over-represented in the non-native compared to native assemblages. Other orders, such as the Plecoptera, Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera, Odonata, Mecoptera and Microcoryphila, are consistently under-represented in non-native assemblages. These patterns most likely arise both as a result of variation among taxa in their association with invasion pathways responsible for transporting species among world regions, as well as variation in life-history traits that affect establishment potential. However, our results indicate that species compositions associated with invasiveness are fundamentally different from compositions related to insularity, indicating that colonization of islands selects for a different group of insect taxa than does selection for successful invaders. Native and non-native assemblage compositions were also related, to a lesser extent, to latitude of the region sampled. Together, these results illustrate the dominant role of invasion pathways in shaping the composition of non-native insect assemblages. They also emphasize the difference between natural background colonization of islands and anthropogenic colonization events, and imply that biological invasions are not a simple subset of a long-standing ecological process.


Biological invasion Establishment Fauna Island Introduction pathway Insect order Multivariate analysis 



The November 2014 workshop on “Drivers, impacts, mechanisms and adaptation in insect invasions” was hosted and co-funded by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Additional financial support was provided by HortGro, the National Research Foundation of South Africa, Stellenbosch University, and SubTrop. The reviewers are thanked for their helpful comments. AR and SA were  supported by the European COST projects Alien Challenge (TD1209) and Global Warning (TD1401). PP was supported by long-term research development project RVO 67985939 (The Czech Academy of Sciences) and by a Praemium Academiae award from The Czech Academy of Sciences. SLC was supported by Australian Antarctic Science Program Project 4307. EGB was supported by MBIE core funding to Scion and the Better Border Biosecurity collaboration (

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew M. Liebhold
    • 1
    Email author
  • Takehiko Yamanaka
    • 2
  • Alain Roques
    • 3
  • Sylvie Augustin
    • 3
  • Steven L. Chown
    • 4
  • Eckehard G. Brockerhoff
    • 5
  • Petr Pyšek
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.US Forest Service Northern Research StationMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Natural Resources Inventory CenterNational Institute for Agro-Environmental SciencesTsukuba-CityJapan
  3. 3.INRA UR0633, Zoologie ForestièreOrléans CedexFrance
  4. 4.School of Biological SciencesMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute)ChristchurchNew Zealand
  6. 6.Institute of BotanyThe Czech Academy of SciencesPrůhoniceCzech Republic
  7. 7.Department of Ecology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic
  8. 8.Department of Botany and Zoology, Centre for Invasion BiologyStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa

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