Invasive Japanese beetles facilitate aggregation and injury by a native scarab pest of ripening fruits

Derrick L. Hammons, S. Kaan Kurtural, Melissa C. Newman, Daniel A. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Invasive species' facilitation, or benefiting, of native species is rarely considered in biological invasion literature but could have serious economic consequences should a non-native herbivore facilitate injury by a native pest of high-value crops. Japanese beetle (JB), Popillia japonica, a polyphagous scarab, facilitates feeding by the obligate fruit-feeding native green June beetle (GJB), Cotinis nitida, by biting into intact grape berries that GJB, which has blunt spatulate mandibles, is otherwise unable to exploit. Here, we show JB further facilitates GJB by contaminating fruits with yeasts, and by creating infection courts for yeasts associated with GJB, that elicit volatiles exploited as aggregation kairomones by GJB. Traps baited with combinations of grapes and beetles were used to show that fruits injured by JB alone, or in combination with GJB, become highly attractive to both sexes of GJB. Such grapes emit high amounts of fermentation compounds compared with intact grapes. Beetle feeding on grape mash induced the same volatiles as addition of winemaker's yeast, and similar attraction of GJB in the field. Eight yeast species were isolated and identified from JB collected from grapevine foliage. Establishment and spread of JB throughout fruit-growing regions of the United States is likely to elevate the pest status of GJB and other pests of ripening fruits in vineyards and orchards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3686-3691
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 10 2009


  • Cotinis nitida
  • Facilitation
  • Invasive species
  • Popillia japonica
  • Tritrophic interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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