About this Research Topic
Many ladybird beetles (a.k.a., ladybugs, or lady beetles) are important predators of insect herbivores in managed and natural ecosystems throughout the world. Thus, they play a tremendous role in protecting crop and non-crop plants from the ravages of herbivores. With the advent of increased international travel between countries and biological control operations aimed at controlling invasive herbivores, several ladybird beetles have been redistributed into foreign countries. This redistribution has had positive, neutral, and negative consequences on the environment. The aim of this topic is to highlight research, by leading scientists, on how invasive, native, and naturalized ladybirds expand their geographic range and also increase their fitness. The challenges to range expansion and increased fitness are physical, physiological, ecological, and behavioral. This research topic is intended to raise important questions. For example, how do some species extend the limits of tolerable environmental conditions, e.g., temperature extremes, relative to range expansion? How do some species exceed dietary limitations, such as developing the capacity to digest and assimilate non-natural foods, relative to fitness or reproductive success? And how do some species resist pathogens or parasites (developing internally or externally) and, perhaps, gain an evolutionary advantage over other ladybird species? We anticipate that the papers submitted to this research topic will advance the study of invasive, native, and naturalized ladybird beetles and provide new ideas to move forward the science of ecology, both applied and fundamental aspects.
Keywords: Behavior; Biogeography; Biological Control; Ecology; Nutrition