Ladybirds in Trouble

Posted on June 17, 2011

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When you think of an endangered species, most people would not consider the Ladybird to be one of them. However, it seems that our common british ladybirds are in trouble and facing a wipeout. But why is that? What is it that is resulting in the deaths and population decrease of our most beautiful of insects?

The answer is simple.

You can tell them apart from the british breeds due to the number of black dots on the back

They are being wiped out in a war by the foreign Asian Harlequin Ladybird. These insects are more aggresive and were first introduced into the British wildlife in 2004. It was thought that these particular species of Ladybird would act as a pest controller but it seems like they have taken their job a little to seriously and are wiping out their fellow kind. At least 10 species have suffered so far, following a dramatic decrease in numbers.

The ladybirds will eat the eggs and larve of other species if food is scarse. However, troubling times seem to be emerging for them as more of the Asian Harlequin are born (due to increased breeding rates), and more of native eggs and larve are killed.

However all is not lost. Britain has 47 species of ladybirds and while some are on the decrease, others seem to be striving and increasing in numbers. Scientists like Dr Helen Roy, from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, are using this information as a sign, saying: ‘They are telling us there are changes going up through the food chain. Ladybirds can be used as indicators of wider changes in our environment.’ These changes would obviously take alot of time before they are drastic enough for us to be concerned.

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