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Keywords:

  • Adalia bipunctata;
  • alternative prey;
  • aphidophagous guilds;
  • cannibalism;
  • Coccinellidae;
  • Harmonia axyridis;
  • intra-guild predation;
  • invasive species;
  • larval development;
  • resource competition

Abstract 1. Resource competition and intra-guild predation (IGP) are important determinants of the structure of aphidophagous guilds. The likelihood and outcome of IGP is influenced by the density of extra-guild prey and the characteristics of the species involved.

2. The nature of intra-guild interactions between alien and indigenous coccinellids often determines the success of coccinellid invasions, as exemplified by Adalia bipunctata in Japan and Harmonia axyridis in North America and Europe.

3. Harmonia axyridis has negatively impinged on indigenous species in its introduced range, and its recent arrival in Britain poses a threat for members of native aphidophagous guilds. IGP and inter-specific competition between H. axyridis and British coccinellids are predicted to occur. However, the results of such interactions have been little studied.

4. Here we investigate the effects of different diets, designed to mimic possible conditions in the wild, on the survival, development, and adult size of H. axyridis and A. bipunctata. Results demonstrate a skew in the consequences of IGP between the two species: the supplementation of a limited aphid diet with non-conspecific eggs leads to a significant advantage for H. axyridis in respect of all parameters assessed, but gives no benefit to A. bipunctata.

5. We conclude that IGP of A. bipunctata by H. axyridis will contribute to the spread and increase of H. axyridis in Britain.

6. We further conclude that the skewed nature of IGP between A. bipunctata and H. axyridis at least in part explains the limited spread of A. bipunctata in Japan.