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The expansion of a species’ range due to anthropogenic change leads to changes in species interactions with cascading effects in ecosystems. Oak gall wasps and their parasitoid enemies are a diverse community of insects that are structured by a network of interactions. One important interaction is “apparent competition,” in which a gall wasp species can indirectly compete with another species through shared parasitoids. Neuroterus saltatorius, an oak gall wasp, is experiencing a range expansion on the west coast of North America, where it outbreaks and causes damage in oak ecosystems. A co-occurring oak gall wasp, Andricus opertus, shares its range with N. saltatorius. We describe the parasitoid community of A. opertus to see if it is an apparent competitor to N. saltatorius. We have identified 32 morphospecies and are performing DNA barcoding to more accurately uncover interactions between parasitoids and the two host oak gall wasp species.



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Detecting Apparent Competition by Shared Parasitoid Enemies between a Native and a Range-Expanding Oak Insect