Predicting the spread of introduced species, such as natural enemies used in classical biological control programs, requires quantitative data on the rates of spread. Here, the pattern of spread of Pseudacteon tricuspis Borgmeier (Diptera: Phoridae), a parasitoid of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren; Hymenoptera: Formicidae), was monitored at two widely separated release sites in Louisiana, USA. At both sites, P. tricuspis range expansion (measured as the mean radius of the range from four cardinal directions) was accelerating during the first four years post-release. This pattern contrasts with a linear pattern expected with simple diffusion. This suggests that population spread involved both a neighborhood diffusion and long-distance dispersal component. This is known as stratified or jump dispersal. Annual rates of spread were low in the first two years post-release (possibly owing to an Allee effect), increased rapidly in years 3-4, and slowed down or leveled off by years 5-6. Annual spread rates reached a peak of 15-25 km/yr, with the northward spread being about 40% greater than the spread in the other cardinal directions. High rates of spread in the latter years and directional bias in the spread of P. tricuspis may have been driven by prevailing winds and two northward-moving hurricanes. Spread of introduced species offers insight into factors affecting spread that is more difficult to evaluate for native species. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Henne, D., Johnson, S., & Cronin, J. (2007). Population spread of the introduced red imported fire ant parasitoid, Pseudacteon tricuspis Borgmeier (Diptera: Phoridae), in Louisiana. Biological Control, 42 (1), 97-104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2007.03.010