We review the chemical ecology of the ladybird beetle Harmonia axyridis from the perspective of its invasiveness and the deleterious effects it exerts in the regions it has colonised. We outline the nature and quantification of its chemical defence, and discuss the protection this provides against natural enemies, particularly intraguild predators. We consider the role of infochemicals in location of prey, intraspecific communication and intraguild interactions. We also discuss the role of prey allelochemicals in relation to H. axyridis extreme dietary generalism. Harmonia axyridis poses a number of practical problems for human health and well-being, including "ladybug taint" wine contamination and problems resulting from large aggregations overwintering in buildings. We consider chemical insights into these issues and, in particular, how attractants and repellents might help manage H. axyridis populations through a push-pull strategy. We conclude by discussing future perspectives for research.
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Acknowledgments We thank Jian Chen, Ted Cottrell and the manuscript reviewers for commenting on earlier versions of this manuscript. A. Magro and J-L Hemptinne’s research was supported by grants from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche—France (ANR-06-BDIV-008-01). Mention of a commercial or proprietary product does not constitute an endorsement of the product by the universities associated with this research or the United States Department of Agriculture.
- Chemical defence
- Ladybug wine taint
- Push-pull strategy