Red alert! New handbook aids identification and conservation of British ladybird species

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Ladybirds are the most-loved and charismatic of British insects, but our native ladybird species are under threat from the invasive alien harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) as it spreads rapidly across Britain. With this new handbook, anyone can identify and contribute to the conservation of British ladybirds.

our native ladybird species are under threat from the invasive alien harlequin ladybird as it spreads rapidly across Britain

Author Helen Roy explains the critical role the public have played in tracking the invasive harlequin ladybird, "Observations from tens of thousands of people across Britain have provided fascinating insights into the ecology of ladybirds. Some of the species that were common and widespread just a few decades ago are undergoing rapid declines. The two-spot ladybird is one such species. I have been inspired by the willingness of people to get involved with studying ladybirds through the UK Ladybird Survey. We hope that this book will help to build on their legacy, providing practical guidance alongside current theory, and encourage others to study ladybirds."

"Not only are ladybirds beautiful beetles but many species are predators of pest insects and play a vital role in the functioning of ecosystems. Ladybirds have amazing life histories and so it is not surprising that they have intrigued generations of natural historians. We hope that this book will help encourage even more people to study ladybirds for decades to come. Ladybird ecology is awe-inspiring, exciting and fun!"

The Naturalists' Handbook to Ladybirds, published this week, provides all the tools needed to identify and study British ladybirds. It includes updated keys for the identification of ladybirds at larval and adult stages, and techniques for studying ladybirds and their parasites in both laboratory and field. The authors hope that this book will be a valuable resource, not only for students, from school to university and beyond, but also for anyone with an interest in natural history, whether professional or recreational. Critically, the authors show readers how to get involved with recording and studying ladybirds.

Ladybirds (in the Naturalists' Handbooks series) was authored by Dr Helen Roy from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Dr Peter Brown from Anglia Ruskin University, Richard F. Comont from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Dr Remy Poland from Clifton College and John J. Sloggett from Maastricht University.

The first edition of this book was published in 1989. Helen highlights the history of this important book in understanding ladybirds, ‘the inspiring writing of Majerus and Kearns has encouraged a generation of ladybird ecologists. I very much hope that this revised edition will build on their legacy.’

Notes to Editors
The Naturalists' Handbook on Ladybirds can be ordered via all good bookshops or purchased from ISBN: 978-1-907807-07-7 | £19.99 | 142 pages | Published: April 2013

Sample chapter:

High-resolution cover image:

Full book reference: Roy H., Brown P, Comont R.F, Poland R., Sloggett J.J. (2013) Ladybirds (Naturalists’ Handbooks Vol. 10). Pelagic Publishing, Exeter, UK.

Contact information
Helen Roy | hele[at]ceh[at]ac[at]uk | +44 (0)1491 838800 |
Publisher, Nigel Massen | info[at]pelagicpublishing[dot]com |

Additional information
Helen combined research with teaching for 10 years before taking up a position (research scientist) with the Biological Records Centre (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) where she is responsible for zoological data and research and works extensively with national zoological schemes and societies. Her research focuses on the effects of environmental change on insect populations and communities. She is particularly interested in the dynamics of invasive alien species and their effects on native biodiversity.

The ecology of ladybirds is a subject that appeals to the public and throughout her career Helen has taken every opportunity to communicate her research to a wider audience. This has included natural history talks, school visits, bioblitz, popular science articles, podcasts and a significant number of interviews with the media. The arrival of the non-native harlequin ladybird in 2004 captured the imagination of the media and there has been sustained media interest in research on this species over the last six years.

About Pelagic Publishing
We publish books for scientists, conservationists, ecologists and wildlife enthusiasts – anyone with a passion for understanding and exploring the natural world.

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Dr Helen Roy

Nigel Massen
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