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Keywords:

  • Allee effect;
  • Coccinella septempunctata;
  • Harmonia axyridis;
  • Pandora neoaphidis;
  • predation

Abstract 1. The ladybird Harmonia axyridis is an invasive alien species in many countries and is predicted to have a negative impact on native biodiversity. However, little is known on the status of this aphidophage as an intraguild predator of natural enemies of aphids such as insect-pathogenic fungi.

2. The study assessed the predation of the aphid-specific pathogenic fungus Pandora neoaphidis by adult and larval H. axyridis collected from the U.K. (an invasive population) and Japan (a native population) relative to that of the ladybird Coccinella septempunctata (native to the U.K.) and the non-U.K. C. septempunctata subspecies brucki that were either starved or unstarved.

3. Overall, predation of uninfected aphids was greater than infected aphids and, when given a choice, a preference for aphids was shown. However, the extent of this preference was dependent on the species and origin of the coccinellid. Harmonia axyridis (U.K.) consumed the greatest quantity of fungal cadavers and showed little preference for uninfected aphids over infected aphids. In contrast, C. septempunctata rarely consumed infected aphids. Life stage had no direct effects on predation but starved coccinellids consumed more uninfected aphids than infected aphids.

4. Harmonia axyridis (U.K.) is a stronger intraguild predator of P. neoaphidis cadavers than the native species C. septempunctata and, therefore, may have an impact on the occurrence and persistence of P. neoaphidis. The differences in intraguild predation by H. axyridis collected in the U.K. and those from Japan suggests that individuals that invaded the U.K. could have a different genetic profile to those in its native range.