Immunity and Invasive Success

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Science  17 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6134, pp. 816-817
DOI: 10.1126/science.1238998

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Biological invasions can be serious threats to local and even global biodiversity, but despite much study, little is known about the factors that enable particular introduced species to be successful invaders (1). On page 862 of this issue, Vilcinskas et al. (2) report an important advance in understanding these factors. They show that the almost worldwide invasive triumph of the harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis (3) depends on the presence of a coexisting pathogen within the invading insect and also the insect's immunity to the pathogen.