Pathogens associated with invasive or introduced insects threaten the health and diversity of native species

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Insect Science, Volume 33, June 2019, Pages 43-48
Authors: 
Andreas Vilcinskas

Insect populations are declining even in protected areas, but the underlying causes are unclear. Here, I consider whether the factors driving the loss of insect diversity include invasive and/or introduced insects transmitting pathogens to less-resistant native species. The introduction of insects into new areas for biocontrol, to promote pollination, or for mass rearing in insect farms, threatens the health and diversity of indigenous insects by the co-introduction of entomopathogens whose spillover is difficult to control. Even less virulent pathogens or covert infections can become lethal if environmental stressors weaken the resistance of indigenous host species in an additive, potentiating or synergistic manner. More research is needed to develop effective strategies that protect the health and diversity of native insects.