Human-mediated long-distance jumps of the pine processionary moth in Europe - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Biological Invasions Year : 2012

Human-mediated long-distance jumps of the pine processionary moth in Europe


Although climate change is currently affecting the distribution of many species, insects are particularly impacted because of their high sensitivity to temperature. The pine processionary moth, Thaumetopoea pityocampa, is a forest insect extending its distribution in response to climate warming. Some pioneer colonies were recently detected far beyond the main range, near Paris and in eastern France. This study tracked the origin and pathways of these pioneer colonies through a combined use of genetic markers, measurement of female flight capabilities, and comparative analyses of the natural enemy complexes. This study also aimed to determine the establishment capability beyond the main range, considering the survival rate during two recent cold periods. The larval survival rate was higher in pioneer colonies (which behave like urban heat islands) than in main range. The flight capacity of females would not have allowed them to come from the main range or the nearest established colonies, and molecular tools further showed that individuals from at least three pioneer colonies were not assigned or similar to individuals at the edge of the main range. Egg parasitoids were absent while pupal parasitoids were present in the pioneer colonies suggesting an introduction at the pupal stage. These approaches provided strong evidence that this species has been accidentally moved near Paris and to eastern France, supporting the hypothesis of human-mediated transportation over natural dispersal. This type of dispersal was unexpected because of risks from urticating hairs and the easy detection of the species.

Dates and versions

hal-02651055 , version 1 (29-05-2020)



Christelle Robinet, Charles-Edouard Imbert, Jérôme Rousselet, Daniel Sauvard, Jacques Garcia, et al.. Human-mediated long-distance jumps of the pine processionary moth in Europe. Biological Invasions, 2012, 14 (8), pp.1557-1569. ⟨10.1007/s10530-011-9979-9⟩. ⟨hal-02651055⟩


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