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The introduced English wasp Vespula vulgaris (L.) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) newly recorded invading native forests in Tasmania

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The social wasp Vespula vulgaris (L.), an introduced species that has caused extreme ecological damage in New Zealand, is reported from southern Tasmanian forests for the first time. In mainland Australia, this wasp has been present in the Melbourne area since 1958 and our retrospective analysis places it in Hobart since 1995. In the present paper, we document V. vulgaris in natural areas in southern Tasmania, well away from human habitation. Malaise trap samples collected since 1997 from nine sites at the Warra Long-term Ecological Research area in southern Tasmania revealed the widespread presence of both V. vulgaris and V. germanica (F.), another introduced species of concern. Analysis of microsatellite DNA markers showed no evidence of hybridisation between the two species. The potential impact of this newest social insect threat to Australian native biota is discussed.
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Keywords: English wasp; European wasp; Vespula germanica; Vespula vulgaris; World Heritage Area; common wasp; invasive species; social insects

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2000

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