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ARS Home » Plains Area » Brookings, South Dakota » Integrated Cropping Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #413753

Research Project: Enhancing Insect Ecosystem Services that Benefit Modern Cropping Systems

Location: Integrated Cropping Systems Research

Title: Expanded geographical distribution of Coleomegilla maculata lengi (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in North America

item Hesler, Louis
item BRUST, MATHEW - Chadron State College

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/19/2024
Publication Date: 4/25/2024
Citation: Hesler, L.S., Brust, M.L. 2024. Expanded geographical distribution of Coleomegilla maculata lengi (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in North America. Insects. 15(5). Article 305.

Interpretive Summary: Coleomegilla maculata lengi, often called the pink black-spotted lady beetle, is an important insect predator in North American agroecosystems. Based on findings in this study, collection records reveal the reputed range for C. maculata lengi had been substantially underestimated. New records indicate an expanded geographic range, including recent expansion of C. maculata lengi in central North America, and a new state record for Wyoming, USA. The expanding geographic range of C. maculata lengi contrasts with that of several species of lady beetles native to North America.

Technical Abstract: Several species of lady beetles native to North America have declined in abundance in the last few decades, often accompanied by contractions in their geographic ranges. Coleomegilla maculata lengi (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is a lady beetle native to North America that is an important predator of pests in various agroecosystems. It has a reported range that spans the eastern half of the United States, and no sustained decline in its abundance or contraction of its range has been reported. Indeed, we recently collected several individuals of this lady beetle in the central USA roughly 500 km beyond the western edge of its reputed range. We hypothesized that new records could indicate either that previous range characterization failed to include pre-existing collection records further west or that C. maculata lengi has recently expanded its geographic range. To test these hypotheses, we searched several institutional insect collections and digital databases for records of C. maculata lengi and found many earlier records of C. maculata lengi beyond its reputed geographic range that clearly show that previous characterization of its geographic distribution in North America was substantially underestimated. In addition, we report a new state record of C. maculata lengi from Wyoming, USA, that further indicates its geographic range expansion in North America. We discuss the new records of C. maculata lengi in light of declines in native coccinelline lady beetle species in North America.