A simple method for in-field sex determination of the multicolored Asian lady beetle Harmonia axyridis

B. P. McCornack, Robert L Koch, D. W. Ragsdale

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52 Scopus citations


The multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), has become a popular study organism due to its promise as a biological control agent and its potential adverse, non-target impacts. Behavioral and ecological research on H. axyridis, including examinations of its impacts, could benefit from non-destructive or non-disruptive sexing techniques for this coccinellid. External morphological characters were evaluated for H. axyridis (succinea color form) sex determination in laboratory and field studies. The shape of the distal margin of the fifth visible abdominal sternite accurately predicted H. axyridis sex for all beetles examined. Males consistently had a concave distal margin, while females had a convex distal margin. In addition, pigmentation of the labrum and prosternum were both significantly associated with H. axyridis sex; males had light pigmentation and females had dark pigmentation. Labrum and prosternum pigmentation increased from light to dark with decreasing rearing temperature and increasing time after adult eclosion for females. Male pigmentation was only affected by a decrease in rearing temperature. Validation through in-field collections indicated that these predictors were accurate. However, labrum pigmentation is a more desirable character to use to determine sex, because it is more accurate and easily accessible. Therefore, we recommend using labrum pigmentation for in-field sex determination of H. axyridis. Implications of this diagnostic technique for applied and basic research on this natural enemy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Insect Science
StatePublished - Feb 19 2007


  • Biological control
  • Harmonia axyridis
  • Invasive species
  • Sex determination
  • Sexing
  • Temperature


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