Dominance of the multicoloured Asian lady beetle Harmonia axyridis in an undisturbed wild meadow ecosystem
Fifteen years after its arrival in Quebec (Canada), the multicoloured Asian lady beetle Harmonia axyridis (Pallas 1773) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) has become one of the dominant coccinellid species in agricultural, forested and urban areas. Several studies conducted in North American agricultural ecosystems show that the arrival of H. axyridis and other exotic coccinellid species was followed by decreases in the populations of native coccinellid species. In this study, the abundances of H. axyridis and other native and exotic species were determined in an undisturbed wild meadow located in a protected area. In 2009 and 2010, mainly Solidago canadensis L. (Asteraceae) and Asclepias syriaca L. (Asclepiadaceae) infested with aphids were surveyed. A total of 1522 individuals, belonging to seven different species, were recorded. In 2009, on all the plants monitored, H. axyridis was clearly the dominant species (69% of the coccinellid assemblage). In addition, this exotic species constituted 84% of the coccinellid assemblage, including Propylea quatuordecimpunctata (L.) and Coccinella septempunctata (L). It is likely the dominance of the eurytopic Asian lady beetle in agricultural, forested, urban and undisturbed open ecosystems, poses a threat to native lady beetles. These results also provide evidence that undisturbed wild meadow ecosystems will not constitute a natural refuge from Harmonia axyridis for native species of lady beetles.
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