Axel Vandereycken, Delphine Durieux, Emilie Joie, John J. Sloggett, Eric Haubruge, François J. Verheggen
Journal of Insect Science 13 (158), 1-14, (1 December 2013) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.013.15801
KEYWORDS: aphidophagous insects, biological control, crop pests, Coccinellidae, invasive species
The multicolored Asian ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis Pallas (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), was introduced into Western Europe in the late 1990s. Since the late 2000s, this species has been commonly considered one of the most abundant aphid predators in most Western European countries. In spite of the large amount of research on H. axyridis, information concerning its relative abundance in agroecosystems is lacking. This study aims to evaluate the abundance of H. axyridis within the aphidophage community in four crops situated in southern Belgium: wheat, Triticum aestivum L. (Poales: Poaceae), corn, Zea mays, potato, Solanum tuberosum (Solanales: Solanaceae), and broad bean Vicia faba (Fabales: Fabaceae). In order to assess the species diversity, the collected data were analyzed by considering (1) the species richness and (2) the evenness according to the Shannon diversity index. Eleven aphidophages were observed in every inventoried agroecosystem, including five abundant species: three coccinellids, the seven-spotted ladybug, Coccinella septempunctata L. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), the 14-spotted Ladybird, Propylea quatuordecimpunctata, and H. axyridis; one hoverfly, the marmalade hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus De Geer (Diptera: Syrphidae); and one lacewing, the common green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea Stephens sensu lato (= s.l.) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Harmonia axyridis has been observed to thrive, breed, and reproduce on the four studied crops. Harmonia axyridis is the most abundant predator of aphids in corn followed by C. septempunctata, which is the main aphid predator observed in the three other inventoried crops. In wheat and potato fields, H. axyridis occurs in low numbers compared to other aphidophage. These observations suggest that H. axyridis could be considered an invasive species of agrosystems, and that potato and wheat may intermittently act as refuges for other aphidophages vulnerable to intraguild predation by this invader. Harmonia axyridis is not the most abundant aphid predator in the main Belgian crops.