, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 5–21 | Cite as

Harmonia axyridis in Europe: spread and distribution of a non-native coccinellid

  • P. M. J. BrownEmail author
  • T. Adriaens
  • H. Bathon
  • J. Cuppen
  • A. Goldarazena
  • T. Hägg
  • M. Kenis
  • B. E. M. Klausnitzer
  • I. Kovář
  • A. J. M. Loomans
  • M. E. N. Majerus
  • O. Nedved
  • J. Pedersen
  • W. Rabitsch
  • H. E. Roy
  • V. Ternois
  • I. A. Zakharov
  • D. B. Roy


Native to Asia, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is considered an invasive alien ladybird in Europe and North America, where it was widely introduced as a biological control agent of aphids and coccids. In Europe, H. axyridis was sold by various biological control companies from 1995 in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and was also intentionally released in at least nine other countries. It has spread very rapidly, particularly since 2002, and is now regarded as established in thirteen European countries. The established range extends from Denmark in the north to southern France in the south, and from Czech Republic in the east to Great Britain in the west. In this paper we map the spread and distribution of H. axyridis in Europe, and examine the situation on a country-by-country basis. We report first records of the species in five countries; Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic and Italy; and first evidence of H. axyridis establishment in the latter three countries. Despite releases of H. axyridis in Portugal, Spain and Greece, there is little evidence of establishment in southern Europe. It is predicted that the spread and increase within Europe will continue and that H. axyridis will become one of the most widely distributed coccinellids in the continent.


Biological control Coccinellidae Halloween beetle Harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis Introduced species Invasive species Multicolored Asian lady beetle Non-native species 



We extend our thanks to all of the following: the thousands of volunteer recorders and naturalists across Europe who have provided records; others who have provided records and support, including; Manfred Bernhard, Gernot Hoch, Erwin Holzer, Andreas Kapp (Austria); Burkhard Hinnersmann, Frank Köhler, Manfred Uhlig (Germany); Theodoor Heijermans, Kees van der Krieke, Paul van Wielink (Netherlands); Arnstein Staverloekk (Norway); David Calvo (Spain); Natural Environment Research Council, Paul Mabbott, Laura-Jane Michie, Remy Ware, Ian Wright (UK); Gavin Hatt and Ken Dolbear for permission to use their images. We are grateful for support from the DAISIE (Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe) project funded by the European Community’s Sixth Framework Programme (contract no. GOCE-2004–511202).


  1. Abbas I, Nakamura K, Katakura H, Sasaji H (1988) Geographical variation of elytral spot patterns in the phytophagous ladybird, Epilachna vigintioctopunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in the province of Sumatra Barat, Indonesia. Res Population Ecol 30:43–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adriaens T, Branquart E, Maes D (2003) The multicoloured Asian ladybird Harmonia axyridis Pallas (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), a threat for native aphid predators in Belgium? Belgian J Zool 133:195–196Google Scholar
  3. Adriaens T, San Martin y Gomez G, Maes D (2007) Invasion history, habitat preferences and phenology of the invasive ladybird Harmonia axyridis in Belgium. BioControl (this issue). doi: 10.1007/s10526-007-9137-6 Google Scholar
  4. Andermatt M (1996) Marienkäferlarven als blattlaus-bekämpfungsmittel? Andermatt Biocontrol 3:10–11Google Scholar
  5. Berkvens N, Bonte J, Berkvens D, Deforce K, Tirry L, De Clercq P (2007) Pollen as an alternative food for Harmonia axyridis. BioControl (this issue). doi: 10.1007/s10526-007-9128-7 Google Scholar
  6. Brown MW, Miller SS (1998) Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) in apple orchards of eastern West Virginia and the impact of invasion by Harmonia axyridis. Entomol News 109:143–151Google Scholar
  7. Brown PMJ, Roy HE, Rothery P, Roy DB, Ware RL, Majerus MEN (2007) Harmonia axyridis in Great Britain: analysis of the spread and distribution of a non-native coccinellid. BioControl (this issue). doi: 10.1007/s10526-007-9124-y Google Scholar
  8. Chapin JB, Brou VA (1991) Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), the third species of the genus to be found in the United States (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae). Proc Entomol Soc Wash 93:630–635Google Scholar
  9. Colunga-Garcia M, Gage SH (1998) Arrival, establishment, and habitat use of the multicolored Asian lady beetle (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in a Michigan landscape. Environ Entomol 27:1574–1580Google Scholar
  10. Coutanceau J-P (2006) Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773): une coccinelle asiatique introduite, acclimatée et en extension en France. Bull Soc Entomol France 111:395–401Google Scholar
  11. Crooks JA (2005) Lag times and exotic species: The ecology and management of biological invasions in slow-motion. Ecoscience 12:316–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cuppen J, Heijerman T, van Wielink P, Loomans A (2004) Het lieveheersbeestje Harmonia axyridis in Nederland: een aanwinst voor onze fauna of een ongewenste indringer (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)? Nederlandse Faunistische Mededelingen 20:1–12Google Scholar
  13. Day WH, Prokrym DR, Ellis DR, Chianese RJ (1994) The known distribution of the predator Propylea quattuordecimpunctata (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) in the United States, and thoughts on the origin of this species and 5 other exotic lady beetles in eastern North America. Entomol News 105:244–256Google Scholar
  14. de Almeida LM, da Silva VB (2002) First record of Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae): a lady beetle native to the Palaearctic region. Rev Bras Zool 19:941–944Google Scholar
  15. Dobzhansky T (1933) Geographical variation in ladybeetles. Am Nat 67:97–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eschen R, Babendreier D, Nauer S, Bigler F, Kenis M (2007) Surveys for ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Switzerland and confirmation of the presence of the invasive alien ladybird species Harmonia axyridis (Pallas). Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft 80:7–14Google Scholar
  17. Ferran A, El-Arnaouty S, Beyssat-Arnaouty V, Galal H (2000) Introduction and release of the coccinellid Harmonia axyridis Pallas for controlling Aphis craccivora Koch on faba beans in Egypt. Egypt J Biol Pest Control 10:129–136Google Scholar
  18. Fisher RA (1930) The genetical theory of natural selection. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  19. Gordon RD (1985) The Coleoptera (Coccinellidae) of America north of Mexico. J New York Entomol Soc 93:1–912Google Scholar
  20. Haldane JBS (1927) A mathematical theory of natural and artificial selection, part V: selection and mutation. Proc Cambridge Philosophical Soc 28:838–844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hodek I (1973) Life history and biological properties. In: Hodek I (ed) Biology of Coccinellidae. Dr W Junk, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  22. Iperti G, Bertand E (2001) Hibernation of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in south-eastern France. Acta Soc Zool Bohem 65:207–210Google Scholar
  23. Jacas J-A, Urbaneja A, Viñuela E (2006) History and future of introduction of exotic arthropod biological control agents in Spain: a dilemma? BioControl 51:1–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kabiri F (2006) Harmonia axyridis: a problem or a distraction? In: Regulation of biological control agents (REBECA), Wageningen, Netherlands, 4–6 April 2006.
  25. Katsoyannos P, Kontodimas DC, Stathas GJ, Tsartsalis CT (1997) Establishment of Harmonia axyridis on citrus and some data on its phenology in Greece. Phytoparasitica 25:183–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Klausnitzer B (2002) Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773) in Deutschland (Col.,Coccinellidae). Entomologische Nachrichten und Berichte 46:177–183Google Scholar
  27. Klausnitzer B (2004) Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773) in Basel-Stadt (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae). Entomologische Gesellschaft Basel 54:115–122Google Scholar
  28. Klausnitzer B, Klausnitzer H (1997) Marienkäfer (Coccinellidae). 4. überarbeitete auflage. Die Neue Brehm-Bücherei, MagdeburgGoogle Scholar
  29. Koch RL (2003) The multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis: a review of its biology, uses in biological control, and non-target impacts. J Ins Sci 3:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kontodimas DC, Stathas GJ, Martinou AF Status of the aphidophagous predator Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Greece. Eur J Entomol (in press)Google Scholar
  31. Koyama S, Majerus MEN (2007) Interactions between the parasitoid wasp Dinocampus coccinellae and two species of coccinellid from Japan and Britain. BioControl (this issue). doi: 10.1007/s10526-007-9138-5 Google Scholar
  32. Krafsur ES, Kring TJ, Miller JC, Nariboli P, Obrycki JJ, Ruberson JR, Schaefer PW (1997) Gene flow in the exotic colonizing ladybeetle Harmonia axyridis in North America. Biol Control 8:207–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kuznetsov VN (1997) Lady beetles of Russian far east. The Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  34. Loomans A (2004) Veelkleurig Aziatisch lieveheersbeestje Harmonia axyridis bezig aan een opmars in Nederland. Coccinula 10:62–63Google Scholar
  35. Machado A (2005) El sarantontón asiático Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773) presente en Canarias (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Vieraea 34:71–72Google Scholar
  36. Majerus MEN (1994) Ladybirds. No. 81, New Naturalist series. HarperCollins, LondonGoogle Scholar
  37. Majerus MEN (1998) Melanism: evolution in action. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  38. Majerus MEN (2003) Sex wars: genes, bacteria, and sex ratios. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  39. Majerus MEN, Mabbott P, Rowland F, Roy HE (2006) The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, arrives in Britain. Entomol Mon Magaz 142:87–92Google Scholar
  40. Majerus MEN, Roy HE (2005) Scientific opportunities presented by the arrival of the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, in Britain. Antenna 29:196–208Google Scholar
  41. McClure MS (1987) Potential of the Asian predator, Harmonia axyridis Pallas (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae), to control Matsucoccus resinosae Bean and Godwin (Homoptera, Margarodidae) in the United States. Environ Entomol 16:224–230Google Scholar
  42. Michaud JP (2002) Invasion of the Florida citrus ecosystem by Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and asymmetric competition with a native species, Cycloneda sanguinea. Environ Entomol 31:827–835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nalepa CA, Kidd KA, Ahlstrom KR (1996) Biology of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in winter aggregations. Ann Entomol Soc Am 89:681–685Google Scholar
  44. Pell JK, Baverstock J, Roy HE, Ware RL, Majerus MEN (2007) Intraguild predation involving Harmonia axyridis: a review of current knowledge and future perspectives. BioControl (this issue). doi: 10.1007/s10526-007-9125-x Google Scholar
  45. Rabitsch W, Schuh R (2006) First record of the multicoloured Asian ladybird Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773) in Austria. Beiträge zur Entomofaunistik 7:161–164Google Scholar
  46. Roy HE, Baverstock J, Ware RL, Clark SJ, Majerus MEN, Baverstock KE, Pell JK Intraguild predation of the aphid pathogenic fungus Pandora neoaphidis by the invasive coccinellid Harmonia axyridis. Ecol Entomol (in press)Google Scholar
  47. Roy HE, Brown P, Majerus MEN (2006) Harmonia axyridis: a successful biocontrol agent or an invasive threat? In: Eilenberg J, Hokkanen H (eds) An ecological and societal approach to biological control. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  48. Roy HE, Brown PMJ, Rothery P, Ware RL, Majerus MEN (2007) Interactions between the fungal pathogen Beauveria bassiana and three species of coccinellid: Harmonia axyridis, Coccinella septempunctata and Adalia bipunctata. BioControl (this issue). doi: 10.1007/s10526-007-9122-0 Google Scholar
  49. Roy HE, Rowland F, Brown PMJ, Majerus MEN (2005) Ecology of the harlequin ladybird: a new invasive species. Br Wildl 16:403–407Google Scholar
  50. Schneider N, Loomans AJM (2006) Sur la présence au Luxembourg de la coccinelle arlequin Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773) (Insecta, Coleoptera, Coccinellidae). Bulletin de la Société des Naturalistes Luxembourgeois 106:71–74Google Scholar
  51. Sidlyarevich VI, Voronin KE (1973) Trials on using Leis axyridis under glass. Zashchita Rastenii 6:24Google Scholar
  52. SIFA (Servicio de información fitosanitaria de Almería) (2004) Organismos de control biológicoGoogle Scholar
  53. Soares AO, Borges I, Borges PAV, Labrie G, Lucas É (2007) Harmonia axyridis; What will stop the invader? BioControl (this issue). doi: 10.1007/s10526-007-9141-x
  54. Soares AO, Serpa A (2007) Interference competition between ladybird beetle adults (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): effects on growth and reproductive capacity. Popul Ecol 49:37–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Staverloekk A, Saethre MG, Haagvar E A review of the biology of the invasive harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773) (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae). Norwegian J Entomol (in press)Google Scholar
  56. Tedders WL, Schaefer PW (1994) Release and establishment of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) in the southeastern United States. Entomol News 105:228–243Google Scholar
  57. Tolasch T (2002) Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773) breitet sich in Hamburg aus – ausgangspunkt für en besiedlung mitteleuropas? Entomologische Nachrichten und Berichte 46:185–188Google Scholar
  58. Trouvé C (1995) Essais de lutte biologique contre le puceron du houblon (Phorodon humuli) dans le nord de la France: résultats 1993 et 1994. In: 47th international symposium on crop protection, Ghent, 9 May 1995. Abstract book, p 109Google Scholar
  59. van Lenteren JC, Babendreier D, Bigler F, Burgio G, Hokkanen H, Kuske S, Loomans A, Menzler-Hokkanen I, van Rijn P, Thomas M, Tommassini M, Zeng Q-Q (2003) Environmental risk assessment of exotic natural enemies used in inundative biological control. BioControl 48:3–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. van Lenteren JC, Loomans AJM, Babendreier D, Bigler F (2007) Harmonia axyridis: an environmental risk assessment for Northwest Europe. BioControl (this issue). doi: 10.1007/s10526-007-9120-2 Google Scholar
  61. Ware RL, Evans N, O’Farrell K, Majerus MEN, Malpas L, Michie LJ Intraguild predation by the invasive ladybird Harmonia axyridis: 1: British and Japanese coccinellid eggs. Neobiota (in press)Google Scholar
  62. Ware RL, Majerus MEN (2007) Intraguild predation of immature stages of British and Japanese coccinellids by the invasive ladybird Harmonia axyridis. BioControl (this issue). doi: 10.1007/s10526-007-9135-8 Google Scholar
  63. Ware RL, Majerus MEN, Roy HE, Symington F (2005) The harlequin ladybird arrives in Britain: a threat to our native species? Bull Amateur Entomol Soc 64:175–186Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. J. Brown
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • T. Adriaens
    • 3
  • H. Bathon
    • 4
  • J. Cuppen
    • 5
  • A. Goldarazena
    • 6
  • T. Hägg
    • 7
  • M. Kenis
    • 8
  • B. E. M. Klausnitzer
    • 9
  • I. Kovář
    • 10
  • A. J. M. Loomans
    • 11
  • M. E. N. Majerus
    • 12
  • O. Nedved
    • 13
  • J. Pedersen
    • 14
  • W. Rabitsch
    • 15
  • H. E. Roy
    • 1
    • 2
  • V. Ternois
    • 16
  • I. A. Zakharov
    • 17
  • D. B. Roy
    • 1
  1. 1.NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology – Monks WoodHuntingdonUK
  2. 2.Department of Life SciencesAnglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Instituut voor Natuur- en BosonderzoekBrusselBelgium
  4. 4.Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and ForestryInstitute for Biological ControlDarmstadtGermany
  5. 5.Wageningen UniversityWageningenNetherlands
  6. 6.Neiker-Tecnalia, Instituto Vasco de Investigación y Desarrollo AgrarioCentro ArkauteVitoria-Gasteiz Alava, Pais VascoSpain
  7. 7.MalmoSweden
  8. 8.CABI Europe-SwitzerlandDelemontSwitzerland
  9. 9.Institut für Ökologie und EntomologieDresdenGermany
  10. 10.The Natural History MuseumPraha 4Czech Republic
  11. 11.Department of Entomology, National Reference LaboratoryPlant Protection ServiceWageningenNetherlands
  12. 12.Department of GeneticsUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  13. 13.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic
  14. 14.Zoological MuseumUniversity of CopenhagenKobenhavnDenmark
  15. 15.Federal Environment AgencyWienAustria
  16. 16.Observatoire permanent pour le suivi de la Coccinelle asiatique en France, CPIE du Pays de Soulaines, Domaine de Saint-VictorSoulaines-DhuysFrance
  17. 17.Vavilov Institute of General Genetics RASMoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations