, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 623–641 | Cite as

The global spread of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): distribution, dispersal and routes of invasion

  • Peter M. J. BrownEmail author
  • Cathleen E. Thomas
  • Eric Lombaert
  • Daniel L. Jeffries
  • Arnaud Estoup
  • Lori-Jayne Lawson Handley


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.


Alien species Biological control Coccinellidae Coleoptera Dispersal mechanism Harlequin ladybird Invasive species Multicolored Asian lady beetle Range expansion 



We thank Nick McWilliam (Anglia Ruskin University) for GIS work for Fig. 1. For help and advice we thank John Day, Irina Goyacheva, Satoshi Koyama, Yoshiaki Obara, Helen Roy, Toshiyuki Satoh, Ilya Zakharov and the University of Hull Evolutionary Biology Group. We thank colleagues from around the world for providing some of the H. axyridis samples used in genetic analyses: N. Berkvens, C. Borges, R. Koch, J. Li, J. Lundgren, A. Migeon, R. Poland, R. Stals, A. Staverlokk and W. Su. We are grateful to members of the UK public for providing records and samples of H. axyridis via the Harlequin Ladybird Survey and UK Ladybird Survey. C.E. Thomas was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. E. Lombaert and A. Estoup were supported by grants from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR-06-BDIV-008-01) and from the Agropolis Fondation (RTRA—Montpellier, BIOFIS project).


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Copyright information

© International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter M. J. Brown
    • 1
  • Cathleen E. Thomas
    • 2
  • Eric Lombaert
    • 3
  • Daniel L. Jeffries
    • 2
  • Arnaud Estoup
    • 4
  • Lori-Jayne Lawson Handley
    • 2
  1. 1.Animal & Environmental Research Group, Department of Life SciencesAnglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of HullHullUK
  3. 3.Equipe ‘Biologie des Populations en Interaction’INRA UMR 1301 IBSV (INRA/CNRS/Universite de Nice-Sophia Antipolis)Sophia-AntipolisFrance
  4. 4.INRA UMR Centre de Biologie et de Gestion des Populations (INRA/IRD/Cirad/Montpellier SupAgro)Montferrier-sur-LezFrance

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