Trait-based approaches to predicting biological control success: challenges and prospects

Michal Segoli, Paul K. Abram, Jacintha Ellers, Gili Greenbaum, Ian C.W. Hardy, George E. Heimpel, Tamar Keasar, Paul J. Ode, Asaf Sadeh, Eric Wajnberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Identifying traits that are associated with success of introduced natural enemies in establishing and controlling pest insects has occupied researchers and biological control practitioners for decades. Unfortunately, consistent general relationships have been difficult to detect, preventing a priori ranking of candidate biological control agents based on their traits. We summarise previous efforts and propose a series of potential explanations for the lack of clear patterns. We argue that the quality of current datasets is insufficient to detect complex trait–efficacy relationships and suggest several measures by which current limitations may be overcome. We conclude that efforts to address this elusive issue have not yet been exhausted and that further explorations are likely to be worthwhile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-811
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • crop plant
  • importation biological control
  • insect pest
  • natural enemy
  • trade-offs
  • trait-based approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Trait-based approaches to predicting biological control success: challenges and prospects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this