The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis: global perspectives on invasion history and ecology

Abstract

The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), is native to Asia but has been intentionally introduced to many countries as a biological control agent of pest insects. In numerous countries, however, it has been introduced unintentionally. The dramatic spread of H. axyridis within many countries has been met with considerable trepidation. It is a generalist top predator, able to thrive in many habitats and across wide climatic conditions. It poses a threat to biodiversity, particularly aphidophagous insects, through competition and predation, and in many countries adverse effects have been reported on other species, particularly coccinellids. However, the patterns are not consistent around the world and seem to be affected by many factors including landscape and climate. Research on H. axyridis has provided detailed insights into invasion biology from broad patterns and processes to approaches in surveillance and monitoring. An impressive number of studies on this alien species have provided mechanistic evidence alongside models explaining large-scale patterns and processes. The involvement of citizens in monitoring this species in a number of countries around the world is inspiring and has provided data on scales that would be otherwise unachievable. Harmonia axyridis has successfully been used as a model invasive alien species and has been the inspiration for global collaborations at various scales. There is considerable scope to expand the research and associated collaborations, particularly to increase the breadth of parallel studies conducted in the native and invaded regions. Indeed a qualitative comparison of biological traits across the native and invaded range suggests that there are differences which ultimately could influence the population dynamics of this invader. Here we provide an overview of the invasion history and ecology of H. axyridis globally with consideration of future research perspectives. We reflect broadly on the contributions of such research to our understanding of invasion biology while also informing policy and people.

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Acknowledgments

The paper had its origin at a workshop on “Drivers, impacts, mechanisms and adaptation in insect invasions” hosted by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in November 2014. Additional financial support was provided by HortGro, the National Research Foundation of South Africa, Stellenbosch University, and SubTrop. We thank all our collaborators, and particularly the volunteer community, who have contributed to research around the world on H. axyridis. The number of references included reflects the range of inspiring studies on H. axyridis from so many people—we look forward to new and continued collaborations in the future. We are grateful to the editors of this special issue for inviting this review and providing an opportunity to explore ideas through the “Invasive Insects Workshop funding (NRF South Africa, CIB)”. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for all their useful comments and reflections. The UK Ladybird Survey and associated co-authors are supported by the Biological Records Centre (part of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), which receives support from both the Natural Environment Research Council and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. The IOBC WPRS and Global Working Groups “Benefits and Risks of Exotic Biological Control Agents” and the COST Action TD1209 “Alien Challenge” have facilitated discussions and collaborations on H. axyridis. This study was supported by the French Agropolis Fondation (Labex Agro-Montpellier, BIOFIS Project Number 1001-001) and by a grant from the ERA-Net BiodivERsA, with the national funders ANR (France), DFG (Germany) and BELSPO (Belgium), as part of the 2012–2013 BiodivERsA call for research proposals. Support has been also received from FONDECYT 1140662 (Chile). The study of M.J. Orlova-Bienkowskaja and I. A. Zakharov was supported by Russian Science Foundation, Project No. 16-16- 00079. Gabriele Rondoni acknowledges financial support from Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia. Riaan Stals acknowledges funding from the Department of Science and Technology, South Africa. The research of Peter Zach and colleagues was funded by the project VEGA 2/0035/13 and VEGA 2/0052/15. A. Honěk and Z. Martinkova were supported by grants GACR 14-26561S and COST CZ LD14084. Research in Switzerland is funded by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment. Hans Peter Ravn was supported by the Villum Foundation. Danny Haelewaters acknowledges funding from the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University and from the Mycological Society of America.

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Guest editors: Matthew P. Hill, Susana Clusella-Trullas, John S. Terblanche & David M. Richardson / Insect Invasions

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Roy, H.E., Brown, P.M.J., Adriaens, T. et al. The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis: global perspectives on invasion history and ecology. Biol Invasions 18, 997–1044 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-016-1077-6

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Keywords

  • Coccinellidae
  • Biocontrol
  • Species traits
  • Competitive interactions
  • Invasion history