Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 61–73

Unfortunate encounters? Novel interactions of native Mecyclothorax, alien Trechus obtusus (Coleoptera: Carabidae), and Argentine ant (Linepithema humile, Hymenoptera: Formicidae) across a Hawaiian landscape

Beetle Conservation

DOI: 10.1007/s10841-006-9019-8

Cite this article as:
Liebherr, J.K. & Krushelnycky, P.D. J Insect Conserv (2007) 11: 61. doi:10.1007/s10841-006-9019-8


The Hawaiian Islands support a speciose radiation of native Mecyclothorax beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). This lineage has undergone a classical island radiation resulting in extensive ecological specialization, flight-wing loss, and 100% single-island endemism. We report on the sympatric occurrence of several Mecyclothorax species endemic to Haleakala volcano, East Maui with the newly arrived, adventive Trechus obtusus (Coleoptera: Carabidae), a tramp species originally from Europe. Arrival of T. obtusus in afforested, non-native gymnosperm plantation forest near Polipoli, Maui was associated with subsequent decreased abundance of native Mecyclothorax beetles. Since discovery of T. obtusus on Haleakala, their populations have been transformed through subsequent increase in frequency of brachypterous individuals. Consequences of this transformation to flight-wing dimorphic populations may simultaneously include enhanced reproductive capacity of brachypterous individuals, increased local adaptation of populations, and enhanced metapopulational dynamics ultimately permitting range expansion and occupation far beyond anything observed for the monomorphically brachypterous native Mecyclothorax. Trechus obtusus and several Mecyclothorax species occur sympatrically with Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in subalpine shrublands on Haleakala. Recent sampling corroborates earlier findings that localized presence of Argentine ant is associated with significantly decreased abundance of native Mecyclothorax. Conversely, abundance of the continental T. obtusus is not significantly affected by ant presence.


Adaptation Adventive species Afforestation Area of endemism Brachyptery Invasion 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EntomologyJohn H. and Anna B. Comstock Hall, Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Organisms and Environment, Department of Environmental Science, Policy & ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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