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Asian hornet (Vespa velutina): a devourer not only of bees.
Invasive alien species are the second leading cause of the loss of biodiversity in the world after the destruction of habitats. The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) was accidentally arrived in south west France in 2004 expanding across French territory, but also in Spain, Portugal and Italy. The velutina is a predator of bees, but unlike the Asian honeybee (Apis cerana) the European bee (Apis mellifera) does not exhibit effective defensive behaviour. The expansion of the Asian hornet has been expeditious, arriving during the period of 2009-2010 to the Iberian Peninsula (Basque Country and Navarre). Later new foci of entry were observed both in the north of Spain and Portugal, colonizing in a few years almost all parts of the northwest peninsular. Much of the feeding of these hornet colonies is based on bees and other insects, and although the impact they may have on the wild insect population is unknown, it has become a major threat to beekeeping and biodiversity, as well as for other productive sectors (forestry and fruit growing).