Abstract. 1. The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, has recently arrived in Britain.
2. This species has been introduced from Asia into many parts of the world for biological control purposes.
3. In many parts of North America it has become the predominant aphidophagous coccinellid in less than 20 years, and in north-western Europe it is spreading and increasing in number rapidly.
4. Since establishment in North America and continental Europe, reports of its effectiveness as a biological control agent of aphids and coccids have been accompanied by accounts of negative effects on other aphidophagous species and humans.
5. Here the potential impacts of the arrival of the harlequin ladybird in Britain are assessed.