The Harlequin Ladybird Survey
Harlequin ladybird elytra
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Trish Wells


PhD student


Plant and Invertebrate Ecology Department, Rothamsted Research

Ladybird research keywords

Insect interactions, intraguild predation, aphid enemy guild, agriculture, biocontrol, predators, parasitoids, pathogens.

Description of work

I am looking at the interactions that occur between the Harlequin ladybird (an aphid predator) and other species that kill aphids and make up the 'aphid enemy guild'.  This guild includes predators such as the larvae of lacewings (Chrysoperla carnea) and hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus), hymenopteran parasitoids (Aphidius ervi and Praon volucre) and fungal pathogens (Pandora neoaphidis). These species are important in agriculture as they reduce aphid populations which otherwise would damage crops. It is important to understand how the aphid enemy guild in Britain will be affected by the addition of the Harlequin and how this will affect aphid populations.  I investigate these interactions in the laboratory under controlled conditions using insects that I have reared and also carry out field assessments to see whether my lab work represents interactions that occur in the real world.

Harlequin with aphids, dead and alive

Trish likes
1. Harlequins which eat aphids
2. Fungus which turns aphids into cadavers.
3. Parasitoids which mummify aphids.