, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 463-471

Changes in A Lady Beetle Community Following the Establishment of Three Alien Species

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Abstract

A number of recent studies indicated that establishment of exotic lady beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) may have adverse affects on native lady beetle species. In the present study, we analyzed changes in coccinellid community inhabiting potato crops in northern Maine over the past 31 years. Prior to 1980, lady beetle communities were comprised almost exclusively of the two native species, Coccinella transversoguttata Brown and Hippodamia tredecimpunctata(Say). Starting 1980, an exotic species Coccinella septempunctata L. became permanently established in potato crops and quickly started to dominate lady beetle community. Two other exotic species, Harmonia axyridis(Pallas) and Propylea quatordecimpunctata(L.) became prominent members of the lady beetle community in 1995 and 1996. Invasion by exotic species was followed by a significant decline in the abundance of C. transversoguttata and H. tredecimpunctata, and a significant increase in the overall diversity of lady beetle community. The abundance of aphid prey was substantially reduced after the establishment of H. axyridis. The observed trends demonstrate the profound effects that exotic natural enemies may have on target and non-target native species, and highlight the importance of their thorough evaluation before initiating biological control programs.