Characterization of a newly established aggregation of the invasive ladybeetle Harmonia axyridis and current status of the invader in Spain
The multicoloured Asian ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), an invasive biocontrol agent introduced in North and South America, as well as in Europe for aphid control, drastically affected assemblages of native coccinellid species, local communities and people. Although the insect is common in several European countries and it was released in Spain for aphid control in 1995, no evidence of population establishment has been reported until 2011. In the present paper, 1) we summarize the records of the invasive ladybeetle in Spain and provide numerous new mentions, and 2) we follow for the first time an overwintering aggregation from autumn to spring and characterize some individual features which allow us to determine its phenology of the establishment and spreading. The results establish clearly that: 1) H. axyridis is (until now) restricted to Catalonia (NE Spain) but the invading process is in progress and the insect is able to occupy different habitats; 2) the ladybeetle overwinters successfully in Spain without significant natural mortality or parasitism; 3) the form succinea represents 73-81% of the overwintering individuals, and 4) the invasion takes probably its origin from Southern France. The potential impact of the invasion by H. axyridis in Spain is discussed.
Journal or Serie
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 2015, vol. 13, núm. 2