Ecology Letters (2010) 13: 937–946
An explanation for successful invasion is that invasive alien species sustain less pressure from natural enemies than co-occurring native species. Using meta-analysis, we examined whether invasive species: (1) incur less damage, (2) exhibit better performance in the presence of enemies, and (3) tolerate damage more than native species. Invasive alien species did not incur less damage than native species overall. The performance of invasive alien species was reduced compared to natives in the presence of enemies, indicating the invasive alien species were less tolerant to damage than native species. However, there was no overall difference in performance of invasive alien and native species with enemies present. The damage and degree of reduction in performance of invasive alien relative to native species did not depend on relatedness to natives. Our results suggest aliens may not always experience enemy release, and enemy release may not always result in greater plant performance.