The global spread of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): distribution, dispersal and routes of invasion
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- Brown, P.M.J., Thomas, C.E., Lombaert, E. et al. BioControl (2011) 56: 623. doi:10.1007/s10526-011-9379-1
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Released as a biological control agent of aphids and coccids, Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) has spread from Asia to four additional continents. Since 1988 H. axyridis has established in at least 38 countries in its introduced range: three countries in North America, six in South America, 26 in Europe and three in Africa. In different continents the species has spread at rates estimated between 100 and 500 km year−1. Here, the global spread of H. axyridis is thoroughly reviewed. Mechanisms of short- and long-distance dispersal in coccinellids are discussed, as are the reasons for them, with particular emphasis on H. axyridis. Dispersal via anthropogenic means has been particularly important in the case of H. axyridis. Preliminary studies investigating the invasion routes of H. axyridis using genetic analyses (involving both microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA) are outlined.