Invasive ladybird carries deadly parasite

05/17/2013 | Nature (free content)

Entomologists say the invasive harlequin ladybird insects are threatening populations of seven-spot ladybirds, native to Europe and North America. The harlequin ladybird, originally from central Asia, was introduced to the region to control aphids, but scientists have found that it carries a single-celled parasite that kills its competition. "The situation is similar to when Europeans conquered the New World. The diseases they carried, such as smallpox, killed more native people than their weapons," said entomologist Andreas Vilcinskas of Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany.

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