We studied the impact of the invasive plant species Solidago canadensis on the species richness of vascular plants and the abundance, species richness and diversity of butterflies, hoverflies and carabid beetles in herbaceous semi-natural habitats near Ljubljana, Slovenia. The species groups were sampled in sites dominated by S. canadensis and paired nearby sites covered by semi-natural vegetation. Plant species richness and species richness, abundance and diversity of butterfly species were lower in plots dominated by S. canadensis. Hoverfly abundance, diversity and species richness were negatively affected only in July just before the onset of flowering of S. canadensis, but tended to be positively affected in August during the height of flowering of S. canadensis. Only the abundance of carabid beetles was reduced in plots dominated by S. canadensis. The responses of the insect groups seem largely driven by the effects of Solidago on the availability of essential resources like food or larval host plants. Our results suggest that insect species that are closely related to plant species composition are more vulnerable to the effects of invasive plant species than those that are loosely or only indirectly related to plant species composition.
- plant invasions
- exotic plants