The Harlequin Ladybird Survey
Harlequin ladybird elytra
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Dr Alison Thomas


Senior Lecturer in Genetics


Anglia Ruskin University

Ladybird research keywords

Harmonia axyridis, non-native species, intraguild interactions, predation, DNA analysis, public engagement.

Description of work

My research interests span a diverse range of topics within the broad field of molecular ecology. Generally I use a DNA based approach to probe ecological questions. Within the context of the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis I am interested in the impact that the harlequin is having on native ladybird species. I have developed a DNA test that can pick up the DNA of the two-spot ladybird, Adalia bipunctata in a harlequin's gut. I hope to extend this test to other species as it has great potential to identify what field collected harlequin ladybirds have been eating.

Key publications

Ormond, E.L., Thomas, A.P.M., Pell, J.K. & Roy, H.E. (submitted) Temporal and spatial distribution, density and diversity of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana in a conifer forest: a microcosm of adaptation. Mycological Research

McRobie,H., Thomas, A., & Kelly, J., (submitted) The Genetic Basis of Melanism in the Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis. Journal of Heredity.

Thomas, A. (2008) Black Squirrels. Biological Sciences Review 21 (2): 39-41

Thomas, A. (2008) Black Squirrels. Mammal Review. July 2008

Karyistinou, A., Thomas, A.P.M. & Roy, H.E. (2004) Presence of haemocyte-like cells in coccinellid reflex blood. Physiological Entomology 29: 94-96.

Harlequin larva

Alison likes larvae...