Interactions between lady beetles and the European fire ant (Myrmica rubra L.) tending potato aphids [Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas)] were compared in the laboratory. Lady beetle species native to North America (Coccinella trifasciata perplexa Mulsant, Coleomegilla maculata lengi Timberlake, Hippodamia convergent Guérin-Méneville) and non-native species of Palearctic origin [Coccinella septempunctata L., Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), Hippodamia variegata (Goeze), Propylea quatuordecimpunctata L.)] were evaluated. Harmonia axyridis consumed a significantly greater number of aphids compared with all other species but C. septempunctata. Ant stings affected H. variegata and C. septempunctata to a greater extent than other species. Ants showed a significantly greater amount of aggression toward H. convergent and H. variegata compared with P. quatuordecimpunctata. P. quatuordecimpunctata, C. trifasciata, and H. axyridis reacted significantly less to ants compared with H. variegata, H. convergens, C. maculata, and C. septempunctata. Differences in interactions with natural enemies may explain, in part, the successful establishment of some non-native coccinellids in new habitats.
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