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Data from: Evolution of starvation resistance in an invasive insect species, Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae)

Cite this dataset

Papach, Anna; Williams, Geoffrey; Neumann, Peter (2021). Data from: Evolution of starvation resistance in an invasive insect species, Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) [Dataset]. Dryad.


Starvation resistance, or the ability to survive periods without food, can shed light on selection pressure imposed by food scarcity, including chances to invade new regions as a result of human transport. Surprisingly little information is known about starvation resistance for invasive insect species. Given that native and invasive populations differ in starvation resistance, this would suggest different selection scenarios and adaptive shifts fostering invasion success. Here, we show striking differences in starvation resistance of adult small hive beetles Aethina tumida (SHB) between native and invasive populations. In the laboratory, starvation resistance of freshly-emerged laboratory-reared and field-collected adult females and males was evaluated in the beetle’s native African range and in their invasive North American range. SHB in their native African range survived longer than SHB in their invasive North American range. Across ranges, females survived longer than males. Field-collected SHB survived in Africa longer than freshly-emerged ones, but not in the invasive range. This suggests no selection for starvation resistance in the invasive range, possibly due to differences between African and European-derived honey bee hosts facilitating a tradeoff scenario between reproduction and starvation resistance. The ability of adult females to survive up to two months without food appears to be one factor contributing to the invasion success of this species. Assuming food availability is usually high in the invasive ranges, and trade-offs between starvation resistance and fecundity/reproduction are common, it seems as if selection for starvation resistance during transport could set up potential trade-offs that enhance reproduction after invasion. It would be interesting to see if this is a possible general pattern for invasive insect species.