Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle
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Photo Details
July 20, 2005 - Draper City, Salt Lake County, Utah - ©Nicky Davis

Family Tree
Coleoptera Coccinellidae Harmonia axyridis

The Asian multicolored lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, is easy to identify from its false "eyes"-- twin white football-shaped markings behind the head. In color, the insects range from black to mustard, with zero to many spots. A common U.S. form is mustard to red and has 16 or more black spots.

This northern, east Asian ladybird was imported to the SE United States about twenty-five years ago: it established successfully, extending north into Canada and through the rest of the USA. It is now the most abundant ladybird to the detriment of many native species. Despite the American experience, the animal was also released into Italy and elsewhere in Europe. It has now established and become common in Germany (2000), Holland (2002) and Belgium (2002). Numbers in The Netherlands increased greatly in June-July 2004.

-H. axyridis is a  potent aphid-eater (aphidophage) and thus potentially useful in biological control of pest species. Unfortunately it also has a very large prey-range. This voracity allows it to eat all aphids, out-competing native ladybirds whose populations decline by starvation. Some formerly common species in Canada are now rare. Furthermore, when it runs out of aphids, it starts eating other invertebrates - hoverflies, lacewings, butterflies etc. Thus many other species, many of them beneficial, are put at risk.  This has happened in N. America.