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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Coleophora spissicornis (Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae), banded clover casebearer

Agent introduced: Agathis rufipalpis ecotype 2, ex Coleophora deauatella (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)


1961, 1966?, 1969

Import source:

1961, 1969 near Freiburg, Germany (imported as parasitised host larvae); 1966? (if imported [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in the 'Import notes' section] it was as adult wasps [presumably from near Freiburg)

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - other than one importation of adult wasps in 1966, Agathis sp. was imported as field-collected, encased, fourth instar host larvae, either Coleophora frischella or C. deauratella. Coleophora deauratella, collected from near Freiburg, Germany, were imported in 1961 and 1969; C. frischella were collected from Avignon, France in 1961, 1962, 1967, 1968 and 1969 and reared in Delémont, Switzerland prior to shipping to New Zealand. The Agathis species was determined as A. rufipalpis but the populations from C. frischella and C. deauratella appear to be genetically isolated ecotypes [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in the ‘General comments’ section]. The two ecotypes are recorded as separate entries in this database; this entry relates to the C. deauratella ecotype. There were no emergences of A. rufipalpis from the 1961 importation of C. deauratella prior to the destruction of all remaining material due to an outbreak of the mite Pyemotes zwoelferi. In February 1966, 17 females and 47 male wasps were shipped to New Zealand; these could have been either Agathis rufipalpis ecotype 1, ex Coleophora frischella or ecotype 2, ex Coleophora deauratella or a combination, as the host species was not reported. The survivors (16 females and 42 males) were released directly into the field. The 1969 importation of C. deauratella was estimated to contain 360 A. rufipalpis, from which there may have been some individuals released (C. frischella were also imported and it was recorded that ‘small numbers’ of wasps were released, though from which host species was not specified).

Released: 1966?

Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - 16 females and 42 males imported as adult wasps in February 1966 were directly released at Nelson, South Island, though the date suggests there may have been few hosts of a suitable age available. The released individuals could have been either Agathis rufipalpis ecotype 1, ex Coleophora frischella or ecotype 2, ex Coleophora deauratella or a combination, as the host species was not reported. ‘Small numbers’ of A. rufipalpis were released from the 1969 importation, though the location is not recorded, and again, these could have been ecotype 1 or 2 or a combination, as both C. frischella and C. deauratella were imported and the host of the released individuals was not recorded.


Cameron et al. (1989) - there have been no recoveries of A. rufipalpis.

General comments:

Cameron et al. (1989) - the Agathis sp. imported to New Zealand as a biocontrol agent of Coleophora spp. attacks Coleophora frischella, C. deauratella and possibly C. spissicornis but there is some question about its identity. Agathis sp. larvae found in the three Coleophora spp. are morphologically identical, as are adults reared from C. frischella on white clover and C. deauratella on red clover. No adult parasitoids have been obtained from C. spissicornis. The species obtained from C. frischella and C. deauratella was later determined as A. rufipalpis. Agathis rufipalpis males reared from C. frischella on white clover from southern France mated readily with females reared from C. deauratella on red clover from Germany. However, the population appeared to consist of genetically isolated ecotypes since adults reared from C. deauratella imported to New Zealand failed to parasitise C. frischella here.


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.