Interspecific hierarchies from aggressiveness and body size among the invasive alien hornet, Vespa velutina nigrithorax, and five native hornets in South Korea

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Authors: Ohseok Kwon and Moon Bo Choi
Date: July 28, 2020
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 15, Issue 7)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 6,921 words
Lexile Measure: 1460L

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Author(s): Ohseok Kwon 1, Moon Bo Choi 1,2,*

Introduction

In recent years, invasive alien species (IAS) have spread widely due to rapid climate change and global trade, resulting in a global biodiversity reduction, and economic and ecological impacts [1-3]. Indeed, IAS contribute to millions of dollars in economic losses per year [4], with negative impacts from insects and arthropods costing 70 billion US dollars annually [5]. In South Korea, the social and agricultural impacts are also gradually increasing due to invasions by black widow spiders (Latrodectus hesperus ), spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula ), frosted moth-bug (Metcalfa pruinosa ), leaf-footed bug (Leptoglossus gonagra ) and black planthopper (Ricania speculum ). In particular, social insects such as yellow-legged hornets (Vespa velutina ), red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta ), and argentine ant (Linepithema humile ), which are particularly damaging due to the large number of individuals and their toxicities, are recent introductions to Korea and pose a significant social threat [6-13].

Many IAS spread rapidly and broadly after the successful invasion of new environments through resource and habitat competition with native species [14-17]. In particular, there are many cases of social insect invasions worldwide, such as in ants, wasps, and bees, and if the invasion is successful, it can have serious ecological and economic impacts, with population sizes ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of individuals [18].

Vespa velutina nigrithorax , originating in southern China, has spread throughout South Korea since its first invasion in 2003, where it was introduced through trade ships [8,19-21]. After invading Tsushima Island in Japan in 2012, V . velutina invaded Kyushu in mainland Japan in 2015 [22-24]. In Europe, this species spread to France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the UK by 2016 after the first invasion in France in 2004 [25-27]. V . velutina has a severe economic impact on beekeepers by foraging large quantities of honeybees in apiaries, removing approximately 30% of honeybee colonies [28].

In addition, V . velutina is a poisonous insect that has a public health impact. In Korea, there are more than 100,000 cases of removal of social wasps' nests per year, and V . velutina 's nest removal rate is the highest among Vespa species. The average number of injuries caused by social wasps is about 15,000, and there have been about 10 deaths. In particular, due to the high density in urban areas, the damage caused by them is likely to be high [19,20,29]. In fact, two deaths have occurred in France since the invasion of V . velutina , and two deaths have been reported in Korea. At present, the impacts of V . velutina may not be noticeable [30], but the actual impacts are expected to be more because the extent of the impacts that this alien species causes may not be fully appreciated [28,31-33].

This species also causes ecosystem disturbance through competition and interference with other Vespa species in nature [34-36]. Therefore, V . velutina shows the comprehensive impact of IAS. In Korea, V . velutina was designated as an Ecological Disturbance...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A630813207