Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle

Harmonia axyridris
Multi-Colored-Asian_lady-Beetle

The Multicolored Asian lady beetle is one of the two known non-native species of lady beetles here on the refuge. This species can be fun to identify because if you look at their head you will notice that it is white with the image of a black “M”. The “M” can appear thick, thin, or even broken into segments. This makes them easily distinguishable from the other species of lady beetles that you may see while out exploring.

The Multicolored Asian lady beetle has a name that suits it perfectly. The multicolored portion of its name refers to the range of colors and variety of spots that it can appear as. This species can range from yellow to red with or without the many spots on its wing coverings. Originating from Eastern Asia the Multicolored Asian lady beetle was introduced to the United States by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to act as a biological control agent. Lady beetles are an important predator of aphids and for this reason they are commonly used to manage aphid populations. The non-native species however are larger than the native species and tend to out compete them. Not only does the introduced species make it harder for the natives to find food, but also this species has been known to congregate in large populations inside of houses and other buildings during the winter being attracted by the sunlight reflecting off of their south facing sides. The Multicolored Asian lady beetle demonstrates a similar behavior in their native land, where they will fly to rock cliffs that face the south and enter the cracks and crevices for the winter.

The larva of the Multicolored Asian lady beetle appears quite different than the adult version of itself. If you notice a small insect with a black long body and two orange stripes down its back, then you have in fact discovered a Multicolored Asian lady beetle larva! They are quite interesting creatures and some even say they look like tiny alligators. Keep an eye out for these tiny alligators as well as the adult lady beetles while enjoying a nice stroll along the trails of the refuge!

 

Resources:

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/multicolored-asian-lady-beetle

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/multicolored-asian-lady-beetles/



Facts About Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle

• Non-native species
• Head is white with a black “M”
• Larger than the native species