Adventive species

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Adventive species is a term relating to species that have arrived in a new locality. They may have had help from humans as introduced species or they may not. The term is now used by some writers in a more restricted sense than its initial usage.

The earliest and most widespread concept among biologists is: An adventive species is one that has arrived in a specific geographic area from a different region (without further caveats). This is the forerunner of the term 'non-indigenous species' although it lacks the frequently invoked basis of the word 'introduced', which means different things to different writers.[1][2][3][4] In this sense, cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) which arrived in North America by natural range expansion, black rat (Rattus rattus), which is believed to have arrived as a hitchhiker aboard ships, and kudzu vine (Pueraria lobata), which was introduced deliberately by humans, are all adventive species and have established populations. Common adventive species include herbivorous insects.[5]

The later and more limited concept is that: An adventive species is one that has arrived in a specific geographic area from a different region; however, its population is not self-sustaining. Population numbers are only increased through re-introduction. After some time, an adventive species may become naturalized OR some populations do not sustain themselves reproductively, but exist because of continued influx from elsewhere. Such a non-sustaining population, or the individuals within it, are said to be adventive.[6] Cultivated plants are a major source of adventive populations. It is estimated that 10-20% of adventive species used in biological control programs eventually become naturalized.[7]

We can readily see how this second (later) concept applies to cultivated plants. Those that grow within the confines of culture are ‘adventive’; those that grow outside those confines are ‘naturalized’. But the concept falls apart when applied to the far more numerous species of invertebrate animals and microorganisms: extremely few of these are cultured, and by the time they are detected in nature they tend to be established (‘naturalized’).


  1. ^ Morse A.P. 1916. A New England orthopteran adventive. Psyche 23: 178-179.
  2. ^ Townes H.K. 1947. A Eumenes wasp and six adventive Ichneumonidae new to Hawaii (Hymenoptera). Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 13: 105-105
  3. ^ Pemberton C.E. 1964. Highlights in the history of entomology in Hawaii 1778-1963. Pacific Insects 6: 689-729
  4. ^ Frank J.H., McCoy E.D. 1995. Introduction to insect behavioral ecology: The good, the bad, and the beautiful: Non-indigenous species in Florida. Invasive adventive insects and other organisms in Florida. Florida Entomologist 78: 1-15
  5. ^ Martin N.A., Paynter Q. 2013. Predicting risk from adventive herbivores to New Zealand indigenous plants. New Zealand Entomologist: 1-8. DOI:10.1080/00779962.2012.759308
  6. ^ Warren L. Wagner, Derral R. Herbst, and Sy H. Sohmer. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawaii, Revised Edition, 1999. Bishop Museum Press: Honolulu
  7. ^ Stiling, P. 1993. Why do natural enemies fail in classical Biological Control Programs? American Entomologist. 39:31-39.

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