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Keywords:

  • Predatory ladybird;
  • cannibalism;
  • intraguild predation;
  • survival;
  • development;
  • Coccinella septempunctata;
  • Harmonia axyridis

Abstract

The relative impact of cannibalism and predation on the development and survival of fourth instar larvae was assessed in two species of aphidophagous ladybird beetles, Coccinella septempunctata and Harmonia axyridis. The effect of eating aphids, conspecific larvae or heterospecific larvae on larval performance differed in the two species: aphids were the best food for C. septempunctata and survival of C. septempunctata larvae was significantly lower when offered heterospecific larvae rather than conspecific larvae or aphids as food, indicating that H. axyridis larvae were not suitable food for C. septempunctata. However, as the different foods did not affect the larval performance of H. axyridis, this species appears to be more polyphagous. Both intraguild predation by the aggressive larvae of H. axyridis and the polyphagous food habit of this species may account for its dominance in ladybird assemblages and its displacing other ladybird beetles in several places in the world.