Dr Peter Brown

Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

Department:School of Life Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Animal and environmental biology

Peter’s key area of research is ladybird ecology. He's joint scheme organiser of the UK Ladybird Survey and co-author of two recent books on ladybirds.


For further information about ladybird ecology research, please visit
UK Ladybird Survey
Harlequin Ladybird Survey
Non-Native Species Secretariat
International Organisation for Biological and Integrated Control (IOBC)


Peter’s research focuses on understanding the spread distribution of the invasive harlequin species, both in the UK and worldwide. Peter monitors the effects of the harlequin’s spread on our native ladybird species and is involved in genetic work to detect predation of ladybirds and other prey by the harlequin.

As one of the co-creators of harlequin-survey.org, Peter has helped log over 40,000 harlequin records since the site's launch in 2005. He is also actively engaged in the efforts to publicise the plight of our native ladybird species, conducting outreach work, giving public lecturers and appearing in television and radio interviews.

Research interests

Peter works collaboratively with researchers at various institutions in Britain (including NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, University of Hull), Europe, Asia and the USA. His research interests include:

  • Ladybird ecology
  • The effects of non-native species on native biodiversity
  • Utilising citizen science in ecology, e.g. UK Ladybird Survey and Recording Invasive Species Counts (RISC) – a public outreach project for recording non-native animals and plants
  • Global spread and effects of the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis
  • Intraguild predation among arthropods: detection using molecular tools
  • Benefits and risks of exotic biological control agents

Peter is a member of our Applied Ecology Research Group.

Areas of research supervision

  • The ecology of the tall fescue planthopper, Ribautodelphax imitans: its autoecology and habitat requirements, with reference to the associated Auchenorrhyncha fauna

Peter would be interested to supervise projects relating to ladybird ecology, the spread and effects of invasive species, or biological recording.

Find out more about our Biology PhD including our exciting PhD project opportunities.


BSc (Hons) Zoology
BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation
BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour
MSc Applied Wildlife Conservation


  • PhD, The spread of the harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Europe and its effects on native ladybirds, Anglia Ruskin University
  • BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation, Anglia Ruskin University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow, Royal Entomological Society
  • Member, British Ecological Society

Selected recent publications

Orlova-Bienkowskaja, M.J., Ukrainsky, A.S. and Brown, P.M.J. (in press). Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Asia: a re-examination of the native range and invasion to southeastern Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Biological Invasions.

Roy, H.E. and Brown, P.M.J. (submitted). Ten years of invasion: Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Britain. Ecological Entomology.

Purse, B.V., Comont, R., Butler, A., Brown, P.M.J., Kessell, C. and Roy, H.E., 2014. Landscape and climate determine patterns of spread for all colour morphs of the alien ladybird Harmonia axyridis. Journal of Biogeography, DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12423.

Brown, P.M.J., Ingels, B., Wheatley, A., Rhule, E., De Clercq, P., Van Leeuwen, T. and Thomas, A., 2014. Intraguild predation by Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) on native insects in Europe: molecular detection from field samples. Entomological Science, DOI: 10.1111/ens.12092.

Brown, P.M.J. and Roy, H.E., 2014. Wildlife reports: Ladybirds. British Wildlife, 25(4), pp.286-288.

Brown, P.M.J., Roy, H.E. and Comont, R., 2013. Wildlife reports: Ladybirds. British Wildlife, 24(3), pp.208-209.

Jeffries, D.L., Chapman, J., Roy, H.E., Humphries, S., Harrington, R., Brown, P.M.J. and Lawson Handley, L-J., 2013. Characteristics and drivers of high-altitude ladybird flight: insights from vertical looking entomological radar. PLoS One, 8(12), e82278 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082278.

Thomas, A., Trotman, J., Wheatley, A., Aebi, A., Zindel, R. and Brown, P.M.J., 2013. Predation of native coccinellids by the invasive alien Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): detection in Britain by PCR based gut analysis. Insect Conservation & Diversity, 6, pp.20-27.

Roy, H.E., Brown, P.M.J., Comont, R., Poland, R.L. and Sloggett, J.J., 2013. Ladybirds (Naturalists' Handbooks 10). Exeter: Pelagic Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907807-07-7.

Gardiner, M., Allee, L., Brown, P.M.J., Losey, J., Roy, H.E. and Smyth, R., 2012. Lessons from lady beetles: accuracy of monitoring data from US and UK citizen science programs. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 10, pp.471-476.

Roy, H.E., Adriaens, T., Isaac, N., Kenis, M., Onkelinx, T., San Martin, G., Brown, P.M.J. et al, 2012. Invasive alien predator causes rapid declines of native European ladybirds. Diversity & Distributions, 18, pp.717-725.

Brown, P.M.J., Roy, H.E., Comont, R.C., Poland, R.L. and Shields, C., 2012. A guide to the ladybird larvae of the British Isles. Shrewsbury: Field Studies Council.

Roy, H.E., Brown, P.M.J., Frost, R. and Poland, R.L., 2011. Ladybirds (Coccinellidae) of Britain and Ireland. Wallingford: NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. ISBN 978-1-906698-20-1.

Brown, P.M.J., Comont, R., Poland, R.L. and Roy, H.E., 2012. Wildlife reports: Ladybirds. British Wildlife, 23(3), pp.208-210.

Roy, H.E., Brown, P. M. J., Comont, R., Lawson Handley, L.-J., Poland, R.L., 2012. UK Ladybird Survey: Engaging people in recording ladybirds. Antenna, 36(3), pp.186-193.

Brown, P.M.J., Poland, R.L. and Roy, H.E., 2011. Wildlife reports: Ladybirds. British Wildlife, 22(3), pp.208-209.

Aebi, A., Brown, P.M.J., De Clercq, P., Hautier, L., Howe, A., Ingels, B., Ravn, H.P., Sloggett, J.J., Zindel, R. and Thomas, A., 2011. Detecting arthropod intraguild predation in the field. BioControl, 56(4), pp. 429-440.

Brown, P.M.J., Thomas, C., Lombaert, E., Jeffries, D.L., Estoup, A. and Lawson Handley, L.J., 2011. The global spread of Harmonia axyridis: distribution, dispersal and routes of invasion. BioControl, 56(4), pp.623-642.

Brown, P.M.J., Frost, R., Doberski, J., Sparks, T., Harrington, R. and Roy, H.E., 2011. Decline in native ladybirds in response to the arrival of Harmonia axyridis: early evidence from England. Ecological Entomology, 36, pp.231-240.