Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 13, pp 3003–3016 | Cite as

Does the invasive horse-chestnut leaf mining moth, Cameraria ohridella, affect the native beech leaf mining weevil, Orchestes fagi, through apparent competition?

  • Christelle Péré
  • Robert Bell
  • Ted C. J. Turlings
  • Marc Kenis
Original Paper


Apparent competition, through the action of shared natural enemies, is frequently suggested as a possible mechanism underlying the impact of invasive alien species on native species, but examples are rare, particularly in insects. A previous study showed that the beech leaf mining weevil, Orchestes fagi, was significantly less abundant close to horse-chestnut trees infested by the invasive horse-chestnut leaf mining moth, Cameraria ohridella, compared to control sites. Apparent competition through the sharing of natural enemies was proposed as a potential mechanism underlying this effect. To test the occurrence of apparent competition between the two leaf miner species, three observational studies and one experimental manipulation were carried out in Switzerland during 3 years. The total mortality, parasitism, predation and parasitoid diversity of larvae and pupae of O. fagi were compared between sites with and without horse-chestnut trees severely attacked by C. ohridella. Total mortality and predation rates of O. fagi were not significantly different between sites with and sites without C. ohridella. Despite a large overlap between the parasitoid complexes of the two leaf miners, parasitism of O. fagi was found to be positively influenced by the presence of horse-chestnuts infested by C. ohridella in only one of the four studies and only for 1 year. Similarly, parasitoid diversity was not higher near infested horse-chestnut trees compared to control sites. Thus, little evidence for apparent competition was found. Possible reasons, including possible insufficiencies in the experimental circumstances and design, are discussed.


Apparent competition Indirect interactions Invasive alien insect Leaf miner Mortality rate Native insect species Parasitism Parasitoid complex Predation 



We thank Wade Jenner, Alain Roques, Sven Bacher, Mark Shaw and anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on a previous version of this manuscript. We also thank Julia Bilat, Damien Vielle and Carolin Weser for their help in field work, Hannes Baur for the identification of chalcid parasitoids and Urs Schaffner for help in statistical analyses. R. Bell would like to thank Brent Emerson for his support during his M.Sc. He was supported by a studentship from the UK National Environment Research Council. This project was funded by the EU FP6 project ALARM (Assessing LArge scale environmental Risks for biodiversity with tested Methods, GOCE-CT-2003-506675) and grants from the Loterie Romande and the University of Neuchâtel.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christelle Péré
    • 1
    • 3
  • Robert Bell
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ted C. J. Turlings
    • 3
  • Marc Kenis
    • 1
  1. 1.CABI Europe-SwitzerlandDelémontSwitzerland
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  3. 3.Institute of BiologyUniversity of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland

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