The final frontier: ecological and evolutionary dynamics of a global parasite invasion

Nadine C. Chapman, Théotime Colin, James Cook, Carmen R. B. da Silva, Ros Gloag, Katja Hogendoorn, Scarlett R. Howard, Emily J. Remnant, John M. K. Roberts, Simon M. Tierney, Rachele S. Wilson, Alexander S. Mikheyev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Studying rapid biological changes accompanying the introduction of alien organisms into native ecosystems can provide insights into fundamental ecological and evolutionary theory. While powerful, this quasi-experimental approach is difficult to implement because the timing of invasions and their consequences are hard to predict, meaning that baseline pre-invasion data are often missing. Exceptionally, the eventual arrival of Varroa destructor (hereafter Varroa) in Australia has been predicted for decades. Varroa is a major driver of honeybee declines worldwide, particularly as vectors of diverse RNA viruses. The detection of Varroa in 2022 at over a hundred sites poses a risk of further spread across the continent. At the same time, careful study of Varroa's spread, if it does become established, can provide a wealth of information that can fill knowledge gaps about its effects worldwide. This includes how Varroa affects honeybee populations and pollination. Even more generally, Varroa invasion can serve as a model for evolution, virology and ecological interactions between the parasite, the host and other organisms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20220589
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number5
Early online date24 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • pollination
  • invasive species
  • mites
  • Apis
  • viruses


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