Occurrence of the harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773)(Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Bulgaria


Abstract: Surveys were carried out in Bulgaria in 2009 to monitor the presence of the invasiveharlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Ladybirdswere collected by beating the branches of trees and shrubs and sweeping grasslands throughoutthe country. The species was found in 17 localities in Bulgaria: Ardino, Belogradchik,Bladoevgrad, Botevgrad, Dupnitsa, Elin Pelin, Gabrovo, Kresna defile, Montana, Pravets,Smolyan, Sofia, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Velingrad, Vidin and Vratsa,. Except for the naturallocation Kresna defile, H. axyridis occurred mainly in urbanised landscapes. The species wasmore often found in Western part of the country. The species was found exclusively onbroadleaved trees heavily infested by aphids: Acer pseudoplatanus L., Cornus sanguinea L.,Fraxinus excelsior L., Paliurus spina-christi Mill., Populus nigra L., Quercus rubra L., Quercuscerris L., Tilia cordata Mill. and Tilia tomentosa Moench. The pathway of introduction of theladybird in Bulgaria is not clearly known. Although releases of H. axyridis were carried out inBulgaria and Greece in the 1990s, the present invasion is most probably due to populationscoming from the West. The invasion of H. axyridis in Bulgaria is still at an early stage anddespite the first observation of the species in 2008, it seems that it started to spread in summer2009 from populations of Sofia.The infestation by Eucallipterus tiliae (L.) on Tilia cordata Mill.clearly facilitated the natural spread of H. axyridis in Bulgaria.

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