Hidden costs to an invasive intraguild predator from chemically defended native prey

John J. Sloggett, Kenneth F. Haynes, John J. Obrycki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Studies of invasive species tend to concentrate on the reasons for their success, rather than on the potential costs that they face. Invasive predators are potentially vulnerable to chemical defences of native prey that they have not previously encountered, and evolved to tolerate, within their natural range. While novel chemical defences have been cited as a factor facilitating invasion by exotic prey, the potential costs of chemical novelty to invasive predators have been ignored or remained hidden. We here consider one such example. Although a dominant intraguild predator in interactions with native ladybird beetles, the invasive ladybird Harmonia axyridis finds the defensive alkaloids of certain native ladybirds either distasteful or toxic, although laboratory and field evidence suggests it readily attacks these prey; these natives appear to possess novel alkaloids not previously encountered by H. axyridis. This effect has hitherto remained hidden, due to the methodological approaches used in earlier studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1396-1404
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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