An exotic herbivore reinforces competition between exotic and native plants

Yuzu Sakata, Timothy P. Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Despite increasing evidence that herbivore-mediated indirect effects play a major role in plant competition, it is unclear how and when they contribute to plant invasiveness. The outcomes of herbivore-mediated indirect effects are primarily dependent on the environment and have complex interactions with the direct interactions between plants. We evaluated the herbivore-mediated indirect effects of Solidago altissima (Asteraceae) on other co-occurring native Asteraceae species at multiple sites in a native range [the United States (US)] and in an introduced range (Japan) using common garden experiments. We examined the effect of S. altissima on herbivore damage, above-ground vegetative and reproductive traits of the co-occurring Asteraceae species at sites with different densities of a herbivore, the lace bug, Corythucha marmorata, which is native to the US and introduced in Japan. We observed increased lace bug herbivory in plants grown with S. altissima in Japan but decreased lace bug herbivory in the US. We did not find consistent effect of S. altissima on aboveground vegetative production of co-occurring plants in either ranges. Flower production decreased in plants grown with S. altissima in Japan because of both direct competition and increased herbivory. Direct competition and apparent competition via lace bug herbivory interacted to produce a strong negative effect of S. altissima on co-occurring plants only in Japan. Synthesis. The findings imply that evolutionary history and the local environment jointly affect herbivore-mediated indirect effects, which play a large role in shaping the pattern of herbivory and plant competition. Another implication of our results is that exotic herbivores may reinforce the negative effects of exotic plants on native plants under high herbivore density environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2740-2753
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Ecology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We greatly appreciate T. A. Craig for his help with the garden experiment in Kansas. We thank J. Itami, L. Medina, S. Ueyama and M. Murakami for their help in setting up the gardens. We thank Y. Sato and M. Yamasaki for helpful comments that improved the manuscript. The present study was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) through Grant‐Aid for Science Research (Grant number JP18K18223).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 British Ecological Society


  • Corythucha marmorata
  • Solidago altissima
  • apparent competition
  • plant invasions
  • plant–herbivore interactions


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