Many species have been introduced worldwide into areas outside their natural range. Often these non-native species are introduced without their natural enemies, which sometimes leads to uncontrolled population growth. It is rarely reported that an introduced species provides a new resource for a native species. The rose hips of the Japanese rose, Rosa rugosa, which has been introduced in large parts of Europe, are infested by the native monophagous tephritid fruit fly Rhagoletis alternata. We studied differences in fitness benefits between R. alternata larvae using R. rugosa as well as native Rosa species in the Netherlands. R. alternata pupae were larger and heavier when the larvae fed on rose hips of R. rugosa. Larvae feeding on R. rugosa were parasitized less frequently by parasitic wasps than were larvae feeding on native roses. The differences in parasitization are probably due to morphological differences between the native and non-native rose hips: the hypanthium of a R. rugosa hip is thicker and provides the larvae with the possibility to feed deeper into the hip, meaning that the parasitoids cannot reach them with their ovipositor and the larvae escape parasitization. Our study shows that native species switching to a novel non-native host can experience fitness benefits compared to the original native host.
Meijer, K., Smit, C., Schilthuizen, M., & Beukeboom, L. W. (2016). Fitness benefits of the fruit fly Rhagoletis alternata on a non-native rose host. Oecologia, 181(1), 185–192. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-015-3524-y