Evaluation of competition between a native and an invasive hornet species: do seasonal phenologies overlap?
Monceau, K. | Maher, N. | Bonnard, O. | Thiéry, D.
One common dogma in ecology is based on the competitive exclusion principle. Hence, competition is often considered to be one of the primary determinants of the structure and functioning of ecosystems. In this paper, we investigate how the native Vespa crabro and the recently introduced Vespa velutina show some degree of niche differentiation that potentially minimizes their interspecific competition, the two dimensions investigated here being seasonal activity patterns and preferences for food. These two species share common characteristics: they are closely related, live in the same areas, belong to the same guild (predators), exploit the same kind of food sources, and exhibit a similar annual life cycle. Considering all these similarities, interspecific competition may occur if the two species exhibit identical seasonal phenologies. Our data show that their seasonal phenologies overlap to some extent probably due to biological constraints common to Vespinae. The shifts in time observed here allow the hornet species to not directly compete for food sources at the same time. It does not however exclude indirect competition, especially in a ‘first-come, first-served’ fashion.Show more [+] Less [-]