London: Seven out of eight ladybird types in the UK have decreased since the harlequin was introduced in 2004, a new study has found.
Researchers at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology say the familiar two-spot variety has become hard to find in areas where it was once common, with numbers down by almost half.
The harlequin was imported from East Asia for pest control of crops.
Its size means it can survive predators and seek prey better than some UK species and harlequins are even known to eat their native cousins.
“It provides strong evidence of a link between the harlequin ladybird’s arrival and declines in other species,” the Daily Express quoted the leader of the study, Dr Helen Roy, as saying.
“If anything happened to the harlequin, even if you’re not bothered about other species, you’ve lost your aphid control,” said co-author Dr Peter Brown.
The study was published in the journal Diversity and Distributions.