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Ecological effects of an invasive social wasp on Hawaiian arthropod communities


The introduction of non-native organisms is a leading cause of species imperilment. Detailed studies of damaging invasive species contribute importantly to the development of effective strategies for conserving biodiversity. Among the many problematic invasive social insects, the western yellowjacket Vespula pensylvanica represents an emerging and harmful introduction. Because Hawaii lacks any native eusocial insects, the invasion of V. pensylvanica poses a potentially devastating threat to the native and largely endemic biota of this region. This study examines the underlying mechanisms of a social wasp invasion in Hawaii. Using ecological approaches and molecular methods, I quantify the effects of an invasive yellowjacket on native prey and competitors. This study identifies factors affecting invasion success, and contributes to the development of effective management strategies that minimize the ecological impacts of invasive social insects on native communities

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