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  Deadly ladybird spotted in the UK
Updated 05 October 2004, 14.27
Harmonia axyridis or Harlequin ladybird (Cambridge University)
A killer ladybird has landed in the UK and could wipe out our native bugs. The bigger beetle is set to eat their food - and them if they're still peckish.

The Harlequin ladybird is an Asian species of ladybird that was introduced into North America 25 years ago to fight aphids that were harming crops.

Now it's found its way over here and has been spotted in an Essex garden.

Bug expert Dr Majerus said: "This is without doubt the ladybird I have least wanted to see here."

Killer instinct

The UK's seven-spotted ladybird
The UK's seven-spotted ladybird
The Harlequin is very aggressive and if it runs out of aphids to snack on it will turn on native ladybirds and eat them too.

It's also a threat to butterflies and lacewings as it eats their food and eggs and has been known to bite humans.

But Dr Majerus thinks there's time to save the UK from a full blown foreign invasion.

He wants anyone who finds a Harlequin to send it to him alive with exact details on when and where it was found.

"If they find an unusual looking large lady bird please send it in to me," Dr Majerus told CBBC Newsround Online.

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