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Argentine ants harm nestlings of the blue tit

The consequences of ant invasions on ecosystems may only become apparent after long periods. In addition, predicting how sensitive native fauna will respond is only possible if the underlying proximate mechanisms of their impact are identified. The attraction of the native and invasive ant community to artificial bird nests was studied, together with reproduction of a wild native songbird over five consecutive breeding seasons in relation to the presence of an invasive ant species. Biometric, reproductive and individual blood parameters of great tits Parus major breeding in invaded as compared to uninvaded sites by Argentine ants Linepithema humile were analysed. Great tits bred preferably in uninvaded territories by the Argentine ant. Moreover, Argentine ants were more abundant at nests in invaded sites, than any native ant species were at uninvaded sites. Further, Argentine ants recruited at the artificial nests more intensively and responded to a larger variety of nest (intact eggs, cracked eggs, faeces, and cracked eggs plus faeces) contents than native species. Although breeding success and adult condition did not vary in relation to invasion status, offspring quality was negatively affected by the presence of Argentine ants. Nestlings reared in invaded sites were lighter, with lower wing/tarsus length ratio and had a reduced nutritional condition and altered oxidative stress balance as measured from several blood parameters. The interspersed distribution and small distance between invaded versus uninvaded territories suggest that ant presence affects nestling condition through direct interference at the nest. These results highlight the importance of evaluating the proximate effects like physiological parameters of the native fauna, when studying invasive ant-native bird interactions. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Álvarez et al (2020) Breeding consequences for a songbird nesting in Argentine ant' invaded land. Biol Invasions https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3
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Role of phenology in favoring or limiting biological invasions

Role of phenology in favoring or limiting biological invasions

Climate similarity favors biological invasion, but a match between seasonality in the novel range and the timing of life cycle events of the invader also influences the outcome of species introduction. Yet, phenology effects on invasion success have generally been neglected. Whether a phenological mismatch limits the non-native range of a globally successful invader, the Ring-necked parakeet, in Europe, was studied. Given the latitudes at which parakeets have established across Europe, they breed earlier than expected based on breeding dates from their native Asian range. Moreover, comparing the breeding dates of European populations to those of parakeets in Asia, to five native breeding bird species in Europe and to the start of the growing season of four native European trees, the discrepancy between expected and actual breeding phenology is greater in northern Europe. In these northern populations, this temporal mismatch appears to have negative effects on hatching success, and on population growth rates in years that are colder than average. Phenological mismatch also can explain why parakeets from African populations (that are more likely to breed in autumn) have been poor invaders compared to parakeets from Asia. These lines of evidence support the hypothesis that the reproductive phenology of the Ring-necked parakeet can be a limiting factor for establishment and range expansion in colder climates. Results provide growing support for the hypothesis that the match between climate seasonality and timing of reproduction (or other important life cycle events) can affect the establishment success, invasive potential and distribution range of introduced non-native species, beyond the mere effect of climate similarity. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Luna et al (2017) Reproductive timing as a constraint on invasion success in the Ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri). Biol Invasions DOI: 10.1007/s10530-017-1436-y


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-017-1436-y