Bark and Ambrosia Beetles Show Different Invasion Patterns in the USA

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Non-native bark and ambrosia beetles represent a threat to forests worldwide. Their invasion patterns are, however, still unclear. Here we investigated first, if the spread of non-native bark and ambrosia beetles is a gradual or a discontinuous process; second, which are the main correlates of their community structure; third, whether those correlates correspond to those of native species. We used data on species distribution of non-native and native scolytines in the continental 48 USA states. These data were analyzed through a beta-diversity index, partitioned into species richness differences and species replacement, using Mantel correlograms and non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) ordination for identifying spatial patterns, and regression on distance matrices to test the association of climate (temperature, rainfall), forest (cover area, composition), geographical (distance), and human-related (import) variables with β-diversity components. For both non-native bark and ambrosia beetles, β-diversity was mainly composed of species richness difference than species replacement. For non-native bark beetles, a discontinuous invasion process composed of long distance jumps or multiple introduction events was apparent. Species richness differences were primarily correlated with differences in import values while temperature was the main correlate of species replacement. For non-native ambrosia beetles, a more continuous invasion process was apparent, with the pool of non-native species arriving in the coastal areas that tended to be filtered as they spread to interior portions of the continental USA. Species richness differences were mainly correlated with differences in rainfall among states, while rainfall and temperature were the main correlates of species replacement. Our study suggests that the different ecology of bark and ambrosia beetles influences their invasion process in new environments. The lower dependency that bark beetles have on climate allowed them to potentially colonize more areas within the USA, while non-native ambrosia beetles, being dependent on rainfall, are typically filtered by the environment.