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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Cirsium arvense (Asterales: Asteraceae), Californian thistle

Agent introduced: Altica carduorum (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), Californian thistle leaf beetle


1977, 1990

Import source:

CIBC Trinidad, 1977; Switzerland, 1990

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - a shipment of 426 A. carduorum adults arrived from the European station of CIBC in Sep 1977. In quarantine, diapause was interrupted and successive generations were reared in highly artificial conditions at 28°C, >70% humidity and with continuous light.


1979, 1990's

Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - released into a field cage at Lincoln in 1979.

Hayes (2007a) - released widely in the 1990's.


Cameron et al. (1989) - failed to establish, possibly because of unfavourable climatic conditions (it is better adapted to warmer regions).

Harman et al. (1996) - recoveries have been made at six sites from Auckland to Otago where beetles were released in 1994/95.

Hayes (2007a) - failed to establish from 1979 or 1990s releases. Initially appeared to do well at a number of sites but appears not to have established.

Paynter et al. (2016) - recovered from two sites 1 year after being released, and it was present at Little River, in Canterbury, in 1997, two years after it was released there; however, it has never been recovered since.


Cameron PJ, Hill RL, Bain J, Thomas WP (1989). A Review of Biological Control of Invertebrate Pests and Weeds in New Zealand 1874-1987. Technical Communication No 10. CAB International Institute of Biological Control. DSIR Entomology Division. 424p.

Harman HM, Syrett P, Hill RL, Jessep CT. (1996). Arthropod introductions for biological control of weeds in New Zealand, 1929 - 1995. New Zealand Entomologist, 19(1): 71-80

Hayes L (2007a). Status of weed biocontrol agents in Southland. A report prepared for Environment Southland Sept 2007. Landcare Research Contract Report: LC0708/022

Landcare Research (2007a). New Zealand Arthropod Collection (NZAC) Biological Control Voucher Collection. http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/resources/collections/nzac/holdings/biological-control-voucher-collection

Paynter QE, Fowler SV, Gourlay AH, Peterson PG, Smith LA and Winks CJ. (2016). The influence of agent rearing success and release size on weed biocontrol programs in New Zealand. Biological Control 101: 87-93