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Heshani Edirisinghe

Doctor of Philosophy, (Zoology)
Study Completed: 2021
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Biology and behaviour of New Zealand ladybirds: Insights into the establishment success of introduced species

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Species are introduced into new areas through biocontrol and conservation programmes. However, not all introduced species are able to maintain a self-sustaining population after introduction. Understanding the differences in phenotypic variation between native and introduced species can provide valuable insights into the factors that help introduced species to establish in new environments. Using ladybirds as a model system, Ms Edirisinghe compared the morphology, behaviour, and physiology of New Zealand native and introduced ladybirds. This was the first study to compare phenotypic variation between native and introduced ladybirds in New Zealand and the first molecular phylogeny of ladybirds to include native New Zealand species. Ms Edirisinghe’s research has provided valuable insights into introduction biology and garners support for the hypothesis that high levels of intraspecific variation increases the establishment success of introduced species.

Dr Anne Wignall
Professor James Dale