Intraguild predation of immature stages of British and Japanese coccinellids by the invasive ladybird Harmonia axyridis

Research paper by Remy L. Ware, Michael E. N. Majerus

Indexed on: 22 Nov '07Published on: 22 Nov '07Published in: BioControl


Declines in native aphidophages in North America have been linked to intraguild predation (IGP) by the invasive coccinellid Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). It is feared that many British species will face a similar fate following the recent establishment of H. axyridis in the UK. Meanwhile, H. axyridis exists in apparent ecological equilibrium with other members of its guild in Japan. The impact of H. axyridis on British coccinellids is uncertain but intraguild predatory interactions do occur, particularly amongst immature stages. This study investigates IGP between immature stages of H. axyridis and various British and Japanese coccinellids. The only asymmetric IG predator of H. axyridis at first instar was Anatis ocellata (Linnaeus). Harmonia axyridis engaged in symmetric IGP with Coccinella septempunctata Linnaeus, Calvia quatuordecimguttata (Linnaeus), Harmonia quadripunctata (Pontoppidan) and Eocaria muiri Timberlake, but was the asymmetric IG predator of all other species studied. The level of IGP was high between fourth instar larvae, and frequently biased towards H. axyridis, except in the case of A. ocellata, which again was the only IG predator of H. axyridis. In interactions between fourth instar larvae and pre-pupae, IGP was unidirectional towards H. axyridis for all species except A. ocellata, which acted as both IG predator and IG prey. Pupae were better protected against IGP than pre-pupae but most species were still susceptible to attack by H. axyridis, although IGP was symmetric with A. ocellata, and H. quadripunctata pupae were never attacked. The differences in susceptibility of the various species and developmental stages to IGP by H. axyridis are discussed in relation to physical defence structures. We find no evidence that Japanese species have superior defences to British ones and suggest that behavioural strategies may enable co-existence in the native range. We discuss the relevance of IGP by H. axyridis to the species it is likely to encounter in Britain.