Invasive alien predator causes rapid declines of native European ladybirds

Authors

  • Helen E. Roy,

    Corresponding author
    1. NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK
      Helen E. Roy, NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK and Tim Adriaens, Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Kliniekstraat 25, B-1070 Brussels, Belgium.
      E-mail: hele@ceh.ac.uk; tim.adriaens@inbo.be
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  • Tim Adriaens,

    1. Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Kliniekstraat 25, B-1070 Brussels, Belgium
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  • Nick J. B. Isaac,

    1. NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK
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  • Marc Kenis,

    1. CABI Europe-Switzerland, 1 Rue des Grillons, 2800 Delémont, Switzerland
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  • Thierry Onkelinx,

    1. Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Kliniekstraat 25, B-1070 Brussels, Belgium
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  • Gilles San Martin,

    1. Behavioural Ecology and Conservation group, Biodiversity Research Centre, Earth and Life Institute, Universite catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 4, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
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  • Peter M. J. Brown,

    1. Animal & Environmental Research Group, Department of Life Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT, UK
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  • Louis Hautier,

    1. Unité Protection des plantes et écotoxicologie, Département Sciences du vivant, Centre wallon de Recherches agronomiques, Rue de Liroux, 2, B-5030 Gembloux, Belgium
    2. Lutte biologique et Ecologie spatiale (Biological Control and Spatial Ecology Lab), CP 160/12, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 50 av FD Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
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  • Remy Poland,

    1. Clifton College, 32 College Rd, Clifton, Bristol, Avon, BS8 3JH, UK
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  • David B. Roy,

    1. NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK
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  • Richard Comont,

    1. NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK
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  • René Eschen,

    1. CABI Europe-Switzerland, 1 Rue des Grillons, 2800 Delémont, Switzerland
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  • Robert Frost,

    1. NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK
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  • Renate Zindel,

    1. CABI Europe-Switzerland, 1 Rue des Grillons, 2800 Delémont, Switzerland
    2. Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Chemin du Musée 10, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
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  • Johan Van Vlaenderen,

    1. CABI Europe-Switzerland, 1 Rue des Grillons, 2800 Delémont, Switzerland
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  • Oldřich Nedvěd,

    1. Faculty of Biological Sciences and Institute of Entomology, University of South Bohemia, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Branišovská 31, CZ-37005 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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  • Hans Peter Ravn,

    1. University of Copenhagen, Forest & Landscape, Rolighedsvej 23, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C. Denmark
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  • Jean-Claude Grégoire,

    1. Lutte biologique et Ecologie spatiale (Biological Control and Spatial Ecology Lab), CP 160/12, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 50 av FD Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
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  • Jean-Christophe de Biseau,

    1. Evolution Biologique et Ecologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles, CP 160/12, Av. F.D. Roosevelt 50 – 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
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  • Dirk Maes

    1. Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Kliniekstraat 25, B-1070 Brussels, Belgium
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Helen E. Roy, NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK and Tim Adriaens, Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Kliniekstraat 25, B-1070 Brussels, Belgium.
E-mail: hele@ceh.ac.uk; tim.adriaens@inbo.be

Abstract

Aim  Invasive alien species (IAS) are recognized as major drivers of biodiversity loss, but few causal relationships between IAS and species declines have been documented. In this study, we compare the distribution (Belgium and Britain) and abundance (Belgium, Britain and Switzerland) of formerly common and widespread native ladybirds before and after the arrival of Harmonia axyridis, a globally rapidly expanding IAS.

Location  Europe

Methods  We used generalized linear mixed-effects models (GLMMs) to assess the distribution trends of eight conspicuous and historically widespread and common species of ladybird within Belgium and Britain before and after the arrival of H. axyridis. The distribution data were collated largely through public participatory surveys but verified by a recognized expert. We also used GLMMs to model trends in the abundance of ladybirds using data collated through systematic surveys of deciduous trees in Belgium, Britain and Switzerland.

Results  Five (Belgium) and seven (Britain) of eight species studied show substantial declines attributable to the arrival of H. axyridis. Indeed, the two-spot ladybird, Adalia bipunctata, declined by 30% (Belgium) and 44% (Britain) over 5 years after the arrival of H. axyridis. Trends in ladybird abundance revealed similar patterns of declines across three countries.

Main conclusion  Together, these analyses show H. axyridis to be displacing native ladybirds with high niche overlap, probably through predation and competition. This finding provides strong evidence of a causal link between the arrival of an IAS and decline in native biodiversity. Rapid biotic homogenization at the continental scale could impact on the resilience of ecosystems and severely diminish the services they deliver.

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