, Volume 63, Issue 5, pp 665–675 | Cite as

Long term changes in the communities of native ladybirds in Northern Italy: impact of the invasive species Harmonia axyridis (Pallas)

  • Antonio Masetti
  • Serena Magagnoli
  • Francesco Lami
  • Alberto Lanzoni
  • Giovanni Burgio


Since the mid-2000s, the exotic coccinellid species Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) has established itself in Northern Italy, raising serious concerns about possible repercussions on native ladybirds. In this study we compared the ladybird assemblages in 2015–2016 with those sampled in 1995–1996, before the arrival of H. axyridis. Surveys were carried out in the same sites and with the same methods for both periods. Aphidophagous ladybirds were sampled in hedgerows and herbaceous habitats at field margins by mechanical knockdown and sweeping net, respectively. The changes in the structure of ladybird communities after the arrival of H. axyridis were significantly different between arboreal and herbaceous habitats. Harmonia axyridis is currently the dominant species in shrubs and trees, and all the native ladybird species taken together account for only approximately one third of the total individuals sampled in 2015–2016. On the other hand, the relative abundance of the exotic species in herbaceous habitats was low, and it has had a negligible relevance on the structure of ladybird communities on grasslands. Among native species, Adalia bipunctata (L.), whose ecological niche largely overlaps with that of H. axyridis, suffered the largest decline between 1995–1996 and 2015–2016. The co-occurrence of H. axyridis invasion and the regression of A. bipunctata suggest a direct impact of the exotic species, because no other major modifications occurred in the studied areas between sampling periods.


Coleoptera Coccinellidae Alien species Biological control agents Biodiversity Agro-ecological schemes Adalia bipunctata Invasion biology 



We are grateful to Dr. Judith Crews, Executive Editor of the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, for the critical revision and the English language editing of the first draft of the manuscript. Her hints and corrections significantly improved this work.

Supplementary material

10526_2018_9891_MOESM1_ESM.docx (40 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 40 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences – DISTALUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment – DAFNAEUniversity of Padua, AgripolisLegnaroItaly

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