Biological Invasions

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 333–347 | Cite as

Pre-adaptations and shifted chemical defences provide Buddleja davidii populations with high resistance against antagonists in the invasive range

  • Helga Pankoke
  • Lisa Johanna Tewes
  • Stephanie Matties
  • Isabell Hensen
  • Martin Schädler
  • Susan Ebeling
  • Harald Auge
  • Caroline MüllerEmail author
Original Paper


The local invasion success of invasive plants can be strongly influenced by reduced antagonist pressure and changes in resistance-mediating traits, but information about comprehensive metabolic backgrounds of native versus invasive populations and their functions is lacking. We examined the defence potential of ten native (Chinese) and ten invasive (European) populations of the shrub Buddleja davidii (Scrophulariaceae) grown in a common garden in the invasive range. We compared the chemical defence arsenal of these plant populations, scored their herbivore damage in the field and determined effects on a generalist herbivore species in the laboratory. Moreover, we isolated compounds that mediate resistance against two potential generalist herbivore species and a pathogenic fungus using bioassay-guided fractionation. Metabolic fingerprinting revealed that invasive populations were chemically very similar to one native population (Mupingzhen, Sichuan Province), which may indicate the geographic region from where the species was introduced. Herbivore damage and herbivore performance were reduced on plants of invasive populations. Different chemical compounds provided distinct resistance against the herbivore and fungus species. Based on our results we suggest that the diverse cocktail of chemical compounds, potentially together with physical leaf features, may provide this plant species with an effective defence arsenal against antagonists. In particular, advantageous pre-adaptations and/or shifted profiles of the chemical bouquet may contribute to the success of invasive plants.


Amata mogadorensis Botrytis cineraea Bioassay-guided fractionation Lymantria dispar Metabolomics Novel weapons hypothesis UHPLC–TOF–MS 



We thank Dörte Goertz (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria) for providing egg batches of the generalist Lymantria dispar and the technical staff of the field research station of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle (UFZ) in Bad Lauchstädt for maintenance of the common garden experiment.


This work was partly funded by the grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG) MU1829/16-1. Seed collection in native and invasive populations was funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU, 20004/705).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10530_2018_1825_MOESM1_ESM.docx (346 kb)
Methods S1 UHPLC-TOF analysis and data processing. Figure S1 Total ion chromatogramms of Buddleja davidii leaf extract and fractions. Figure S2 Fragmentation and respective ion and adduct pattern of reference substances (DOCX 346 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EcologyBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Biology, Geobotany and Botanical GardenMartin Luther University Halle-WittenbergHalle (Saale)Germany
  3. 3.Department of Community EcologyHelmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research - UFZHalle (Saale)Germany
  4. 4.German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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