The Harlequin ladybeetle Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in the Western Cape Province, South Africa: effects on arthropods in urban, agricultural and natural ecosystems

Mukwevho, Vuledzani Oral (2015-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Invasive arthropod predators are one of the largest and most diverse groups of invasive insects in the world. Many are generalist predators, with cosmopolitan distributions due to their use as biological control agents in agriculture. Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), an invasive arthropod predator species native to Asia, which now has a world-wide distribution. It is considered one of the most successful biological control predator species and is generally considered to be economically beneficial. However, negative effects have recently emerged in agricultural and natural systems. Harmonia axyridis poses a threat to biodiversity as it outcompetes native species for food resources. It can also feed directly on native predatory arthropods that disrupt natural ecosystem processes. Their movement in-and-out of agricultural landscapes may depend on food availability with natural vegetation alongside agricultural areas often utilised for refuge and alternative food resources. This beetle has also been recorded in urban areas. The aim of this study was to determine how the invasive H. axyridis beetle uses the local landscape in the Western Cape province, South Africa, and to determine its threat to native species. I sampled urban landscapes, vineyards, natural vegetation/vineyard edge zones and pristine natural areas for arthropods every second month using a suction sampler. Data collected included the abundance and diversity of H. axyridis, herbivores, local predators and non-Harmonia ladybeetles. Most H. axyridis were collected in urban areas during all sampling periods. Highest abundance was recorded in May and July (winter). This indicates that urban areas were the preferred landscape feature and that these act as ovipositing areas, particularly as larval H. axyridis were also only collected in urban areas. Significantly, vineyards and natural vegetation had very low abundance of H. axyridis, questioning their value as a biological control agent in this region. Harmonia axyridis had a negative effect on the overall local arthropod community, as well as the predator and herbivore guilds, although it was positively correlated with the abundance of non-Harmonia ladybeetles. This suggests that H. axyridis and non-Harmonia ladybeetles are responding to the same resources in these landscapes. A negative correlation found between H. axyridis and the abundance of predators is most likely due to competition for the same resources (e.g. prey items). These negative impacts, along with their negligible value as biological control agents in agriculture, suggest that a programme should be implemented to control this invasive species. More specifically, control should be aimed in urban areas during winter when and where the species aggregates and when larvae are present.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geleedpotige roofdiere is een van die grootste en mees diverse groepe van uitheemse insekte in die wêreld. Die meeste is veelsydige roofdiere, met wêreldwye verspreiding te danke aan hul gebruik as biologiese beheer agente in landbou gebiede. Byvoorbeeld, Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), 'n indringer geleedpotige roofdier spesies inheems aan Asië, het nou 'n wêreldwye verspreiding. Dit word beskou as die mees suksesvolle roofdier spesies wat gebruik word vir biologiese beheer en word oor die algemeen beskou as ekonomies voordelig. Negatiewe effekte was onlangs aangeteken beide in landbou gebiede en natuurlike areas. Harmonia axyridis hou 'n bedreiging in vir inheemse biodiversiteit as dit inheemse spesies uitkompeteer vir voedsel bronne. Dit kan ook direk voed op plaaslike roofsugtige geleedpotiges wat trofiese vlakke ontwrig en uiteindelik, biodiversiteit. Hulle beweging in-en-uit landbou landskappe kan gekoppel word aan die beskikbaarheid van voedsel, en gebruik natuurlike plantegroei langs landbou gebiede dikwels as 'n toevlugs oord en area vir alternatiewe voedsel bronne. Harmonia axyridis word ook in stedelike gebiede aangeteken. Die doel van hierdie studie was om te bepaal hoe die indringer Harlekynkewer die plaaslike landskap gebruik met die fokus op wingerde in die Wes-Kaap provinsie van Suid-Afrika, en tweedens om die bedreiging wat hierdie kewer moontlik vir inheemse spesies te bepaal. Ek het arthropoda in stedelike landskappe, wingerde, natuurlike plantegroei / wingerd rand sones en ongerepte natuurlike areas elke twee maande met behulp van 'n D-vac versamel. Monsters was ontleed deur gebruik te maak van die getalle van H. axyridis, herbivore, plaaslike roofdiere en nie-Harmonia liewenheers kewers. Die meeste H. axyridis was in stedelike gebiede versamel gedurende al die seisoene, maar meeste individue was gedurende Mei en Julie (winter) versamel. Hierdie toon dat stedelike gebiede die voorkeur-landskappe is vir hierdie kewers en dat hierdie gebiede opgetree as eierleggende gebiede, veral omdat larwes van H. axyridis slegs in hierdie gebiede aangeteken was. Wingerde en die natuurlike plantegroei het baie lae getalle H. axyridis gehuisves wat hul waarde as biobeheermiddel bevraagteken. Harmonia axyridis het 'n negatiewe uitwerking op die algehele plaaslike geleedpotige gemeenskappe gehad, asook op die die roofdier en herbivoor gildes, maar hul getalle was positief gekorreleer met die getalle van nie-Harmonia liewenheerskewers. Dit dui daarop dat H. axyridis en nie-Harmonia liewenheerskewers beide reageer op dieselfde hulpbronne in hierdie landskappe. 'n Negatiewe korrelasie was gevind tussen die getalle van H. axyridis en die getalle van ander predatoriese geleedpotiges at waarskynlik te danke was aan mededinging tussen hierdie groepe vir dieselfde hulpbronne (bv prooi). Hierdie negatiewe invloede, asook hul verminderde waarde as biobeheeragente in die landbou, dui daarop dat 'n program in werking gestel moet word om hierdie indringerspesies te beheer. Meer spesifiek, beheer moet gedurende die winter en in stedelike gebiede geskied, waar en wanneer hierdie spesie op sy volopste is en waar larwes teenwoordig is.

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