A ladybird native to Asia, the Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia Axyridis), has been spotted in two locations in Ireland. The alien invader poses a threat to the country's "unique biodiversity".

The ladybirds were spotted in County Cork and Wicklow. Colette O’Flynn from the National Biodiversity Data Centre “If the Harlequin Ladybird becomes established, it will lead to a decline, and in some cases, the extinction of some of our 15 native ladybird species."

It's believed that they arrived to Ireland on imported vegetables, fruit or plants. Ms O’Flynn said they could represent “the tip of the iceberg in terms of a new invasion to the island of Ireland.

“The Harlequin Ladybird is one of the fastest-spreading invasive species in Europe,” she said.