|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication:||2013|
|Authors:||E. Spicer Rice, Silverman J.|
Identifying mechanisms governing the establishment and spread of invasive species is a fundamental challenge in invasion biology. Because species invasions are frequently observed only after the species presents an environmental threat, research identifying the contributing agents to dispersal and subsequent spread are confined to retrograde observations. Here, we use a combination of seasonal surveys and experimental approaches to test the relative importance of behavioral and abiotic factors in determining the local co-occurrence of two invasive ant species, the established Argentine ant (Linepithema humile Mayr) and the newly invasive Asian needle ant (Pachycondyla chinensis Emery). We show that the broader climatic envelope of P. chinensis enables it to establish earlier in the year than L. humile. We also demonstrate that increased P. chinensis propagule pressure during periods of L. humile scarcity contributes to successful P. chinensis early season establishment. Furthermore, we show that, although L. humile is the numerically superior and behaviorally dominant species at baits, P. chinensis is currently displacing L. humile across the invaded landscape. By identifying the features promoting the displacement of one invasive ant by another we can better understand both early determinants in the invasion process and factors limiting colony expansion and survival.
|Alternate Journal:||PLoS ONE|