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Predicting the potential geographical distribution of the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, using the CLIMEX model

Abstract

Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is a ladybird beetle native to temperate and subtropical parts of Asia. Since 1916 populations of this species have been introduced throughout the world, either deliberately, or by accident through international transport. Harmonia axyridis was originally released as a classical biological control agent of aphid and coccid pests in orchards and forests, but since 1994 it is also available as a commercial product for augmentative control in field and greenhouse crops. It is a very voracious and effective natural enemy of aphids, psyllids and coccids in various agricultural and horticultural habitats and forests. During the past 20 years, however, it has successfully invaded non-target habitats in North America (since 1988), Europe (1999) and South America (2001) respectively in a short period of time, attacking a wide range of non-pest species in different insect orders. Becoming part of the agricultural commercial pathway, it is prone to being introduced into large areas across the world by accident. We use the CLIMEX programme (v2) to predict the potential geographical distribution of H. axyridis by means of matching the climate of its region of origin with other regions in the world and taking in account biological characteristics of the species. Establishment and spread seem likely in many regions across the world, including those areas which H. axyridis has already invaded (temperate Europe, North America). Based on the CLIMEX prediction a large part of Mediterranean Europe, South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand seem highly suitable for long-term survival of H. axyridis as well. In addition we evaluate CLIMEX as a strategic tool for estimating establishment potential as part of an environmental risk assessment procedure for biological control agents we discuss biological and ecological aspects necessary to fine-tune its establishment and spread in areas after it has been introduced.

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Poutsma, J., Loomans, A.J.M., Aukema, B. et al. Predicting the potential geographical distribution of the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, using the CLIMEX model. BioControl 53, 103–125 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-007-9140-y

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Keywords

  • Harmonia axyridis
  • Biological control
  • CLIMEX
  • Potential distribution
  • Climate matching