University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Ecology Lunchtime Series > Tracking an invader: the spread of the harlequin ladybird in Europe and its effects on native ladybirds

Tracking an invader: the spread of the harlequin ladybird in Europe and its effects on native ladybirds

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr. Belinda Gallardo.

Invasive alien species such as the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), are regarded as one of the primary threats to global biodiversity. Native to Asia, H. axyridis was introduced in Europe as a biological control agent of aphids and scale insects. Since 2001 the species has been one of the fastest spreading invasive species in Europe and is now established in at least 26 European countries. This study investigated the spread and distribution of H. axyridis in Europe from the start of the invasion process and examined its effects on native ladybirds in Britain. In eastern England H. axyridis increased from 0.1% to 40% of total ladybirds in three years, whilst native aphid-feeding ladybirds declined from 84% to 41% of total ladybirds in the same period. By analyses of gut contents, detection of predation in the field by H. axyridis on the 2-spot ladybird Adalia bipunctata was shown using PCR techniques. Harmonia axyridis will feed on many native insects, including Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and work to investigate this is planned.

This talk is part of the Ecology Lunchtime Series series.

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