Control of invasive hosts by generalist parasitoids

Christelle Magal, Chris Cosner, Shigui Ruan, J. Casas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This article was motivated by the invasion of leaf-mining microlepidopteron attacking horse chestnut trees in Europe and the need for a biological control. Following Owen & Lewis (2001, Bull. Math. Biol., 63, 655-684), we consider predation of leafminers by a generalist parasitoid with a Holling Type II functional response. We first identified six equilibrium points and discussed their stabilities in the non-spatial model. The model always predicts persistence of the parasitoid. Depending on the parameter values, the model may predict that the host persists and goes extinct or there is something like an Allee effect where the outcome depends on the initial host density. Special cases were also studied for small carrying capacities leading to complex dynamical behaviours. Then, numerical simulations of the spatial reaction-diffusion model enabled us to identify the conditions for which the leafminer's advance can be stopped and reversed by parasitoids. Compared to the ordinary differential equation model, the incorporation of space, combined with the polyphagy of the parasitoid, leads to a decrease of the parameter domain of coexistence. This is in stark to several other models in which space promotes coexistence by enabling hosts to escape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdqm011
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalMathematical Medicine and Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 28 2008


  • Apparent competition
  • Biological control
  • Generalist parasitoid
  • Host-parasitoid system
  • Invasion process
  • ODE
  • PDE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Applied Mathematics


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