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Posted Wed Jun 15 2011: from Guardian:
British ladybug species struggling to compete with aliens
More than one-fifth of native ladybird species are in decline across the British Isles as environmental changes and competition from voracious alien invaders take their toll on the insects' numbers. The grim outlook for 10 of the 47 ladybird species found in the UK and Ireland is revealed in the first comprehensive census compiled with help from tens of thousands of volunteer spotters.... Some native ladybirds are struggling to survive alongside species that have recently become established in Britain. A decline in the two-spot ladybird has been blamed on the arrival and spectacular rise of the Asian harlequin ladybird, which was introduced into Europe to control pests.... Helen Roy, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in Oxfordshire, and one of the authors of the Ladybird Atlas of Britain and Ireland, said: "What's quite striking is that in the same way as butterflies and moths have seen very common species going into decline, we're seeing the same happen with ladybirds. "What is particularly worrying about the declines is that many of these are common species, the ones people will be most familiar with in their gardens. We have not unravelled all the causes behind the declines, but a warming climate and changes in land use are expected to have an impact. "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," Roy said.
[Read more stories about: invasive species, canary in coal mine]

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