The establishment and rapid spread of an alien invasive lady beetle:Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in southern Africa, 2001–2009


Abstract: That Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), a grievous alien invasive species,has established in southern Africa and is spreading though the region is presently not well knownoutside South Africa. The first known record for the region is a capture from 2001. Establishmentis hypothesised to have taken place in the south-western part of the Western Cape Province. Thegeographic spread of the insect through southern Africa has been recorded since 2006 andretrospectively, with information largely obtained through citizen science. Until the end of 2009,the beetle has spread widely through the more temperate southern and higher-lying eastern andeast-central parts of South Africa, and has also been recorded from Lesotho. In 2009 it hasadditionally been recorded from localities in the hotter, drier interior of South Africa for the firsttime. The invader has been found in a large variety of natural and transformed landscapes andhabitats. The ecological effects it may exert may ultimately be unknowable because of theabsence of baseline information on coccinellid community ecology in southern Africa.

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