Main content area

Ecological correlates of local extinction and colonisation in the British ladybird beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Comont, Richard F., Roy, Helen E., Harrington, Richard, Shortall, Christopher R., Purse, Bethan V.
Biological invasions 2014 v.16 no.9 pp. 1805-1817
Harmonia axyridis, climate, climate change, extinction, habitat destruction, habitats, indigenous species, introduced species, invasive species, land cover, linear models, model uncertainty, multivoltine habit, pollution, population dynamics, urban areas
Five main drivers of population declines have been identified: climate change, habitat degradation, invasive alien species (IAS), overexploitation and pollution. Each of these drivers interacts with the others, and also with the intrinsic traits of individual species, to determine species’ distribution and range dynamics. We explored the relative importance of life-history and resource-use traits, climate, habitat, and the IAS Harmonia axyridis in driving local extinction and colonisation dynamics across 25 ladybird species (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae).Species were classified as continually present, continually absent, extinct, or colonising in each of 4,642 1-km² grid squares. The spatial distribution of local extinction and colonisation events (in the grid squares) across all species’ ranges were related to ecological traits, overlap with H. axyridis, climate, and habitat factors within generalised linear models (GLMs). GLMs were also used to relate species’ traits, range characteristics, and niche overlap with H. axyridis to extinction and colonisation rates summarised at the species level. Bayesian model averaging was used to account for model uncertainty, and produce reduced sets of models which were well-supported by data. Species with a high degree of niche overlap with H. axyridis suffered higher extinction rates in both analyses, while at the spatial scale extinctions were more likely and colonisations less likely in areas with a high proportion of urban land cover. In the spatial analysis, polymorphic species with large range sizes were more likely to colonise and less likely to go extinct, and sunny grid squares were more likely to be colonised. Large, multivoltine species and rainy grid squares were less likely to colonise or be colonised. In conclusion for ladybirds, extinction and colonisation dynamics are influenced by several factors. The only factor that both increased the local extinction likelihood and reduced colonisation likelihood was urban land cover, while ecological overlap with H. axyridis greatly increased extinction rates. Continued spread of H. axyridis is likely to adversely affect native species and urban areas may be particularly vulnerable.