The introduction of a new species can change the characteristics of other species within a community. These changes may affect discontiguous trophic levels via adjacent trophic levels. The invasion of an exotic host species may provide the opportunity to observe the dynamics of changing interspecific interactions among parasitoids belonging to different trophic levels. The exotic large white butterfly Pieris brassicae invaded Hokkaido Island, Japan, and quickly spread throughout the island. Prior to the invasion, the small white butterfly P. rapae was the host of the primary parasitoid Cotesia glomerata, on which both the larval hyperparasitoid Baryscapus galactopus and the pupal hyperparasitoid Trichomalopsis apanteroctena depended. At the time of the invasion, C. glomerata generally laid eggs exclusively in P. rapae. During the five years following the invasion, however, the clutch size of C. glomerata in P. rapae gradually decreased, whereas the clutch size in P. brassicae increased. The field results corresponded well with laboratory experiments showing an increase in the rate of parasitism in P. brassicae. The host expansion of C. glomerata provided the two hyperparasitoids with an opportunity to choose between alternative hosts, that is, C. glomerata within P. brassicae and C. glomerata within P. rapae. Indeed, the pupal hyperparasitoid T. apanteroctena shifted its preference gradually to C. glomerata in P. brassicae, whereas the larval hyperparasitoid B. galactopus maintained a preference for C. glomerata in P. rapae. These changes in host preference may result from differential suitability of the two host types. The larval hyperparasitoid preferred C. glomerata within P. rapae to C. glomerata within P. brassicae, presumably because P. brassicae larvae attacked aggressively, thereby hindering the parasitization, whereas the pupal hyperparasitoid could take advantage of the competition-free resource by shifting its host preference. Consequently, the invasion of P. brassicae has changed the host use of the primary parasitoid C. glomerata and the pupal hyperparasitoid T. apanteroctena within a very short time.
Vol. 61 • No. 8
Vol. 61 • No. 8
Cotesia glomerata (L.)
host range evolution
Pieris rapae crucivora (Boisduval)