Ecological effects of the invasive harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis)
Rachel is a member of our Applied Ecology Research Group.
The main part of this study will investigate the extent that native specialist ladybird species co-exist alongside the invasive non-native harlequin ladybird outside of urban/suburban habitats. Interactions between the harlequin ladybird, aphids, competing aphidophagous insects (lacewings, hoverfly larvae) and natural enemies (ants) will also be explored. Ladybirds sometimes prey on other ladybird species and this may have a significant effect on numbers of smaller/rarer species. As a result, how the rare 5-spot ladybird co-exists with the harlequin will be examined by field sampling and molecular investigation. Existing data from the UK Ladybird Survey will be analysed to help focus future research efforts involving specialist ladybird species.