Harmonia axyridis

Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773)

Harlequin ladybird

Morphology

This is a species of large ladybirds: around 7 mm. The elytra have a highly variable coloring: from orangey yellow to red but also with black specimens. They can show from one to nine spots. Many different forms of coloration (120) have been described.
The adult is identified by presence of a black M-shaped spot on the pronotum.

Diet

It feeds on a multitude of pests but especially on aphids. It was imported from China for use in biological control. Adults and larvae have voracious appetites and are polyphagous. The species manifests high fecundity and is easy to feed with an artificial diet; the cost of production is lower than for the two-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata).

Habitat

From the beginning of the century, but especially more massively towards the end of the 1980s, the Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) has been introduced into Europe and the USA for biological control. However, its behavior, profusive reproduction and voracity have now made it an invasive species. It is coming into direct competition with indigenous species for food and space. It can consume the larvae of other species.

See also

Modification date : 07 February 2023 | Publication date : 22 March 2011 | Redactor : Evelyne Turpeau, Maurice Hullé, Bernard Chaubet