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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Phthorimaea operculella (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), potato tuber moth

Agent introduced: Chelonus curvimaculatus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) = Microchelonus curvimaculatus

Imported: 1966, 1969-70

Import source:

Northern Argentina and southern Brazil via India

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - between January and April 1966 there were six shipments of C. curvimaculatus from the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control station in India to Nelson, New Zealand, with all individuals being directly released. Between November 1969 and April 1970 there were a further two shipments of C. curvimaculatus from India to Nelson, all of which were directly released. The C. curvimaculatus material had been originally sourced from northern Argentina and southern Brazil in 1963-64 and cultured at the Californian Station of CIBC; when this station closed, the colony was transferred to the Indian Station of CIBC, from where the 1966 and 1969-70 shipments were made to New Zealand.



Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - approximate numbers released from the 1966 importations were 440 at Lincoln, Canterbury and Oamaru, North Otago, South Island (specific numbers at each site was not clear in the records), 825 at Nelson, South Island and 750 at Palmerston North, North Island. Approximate numbers released from the 1969-70 importations were 300 at Lincoln/Oamaru and 400 at Nelson.


Cameron et al. (1989) - sporadic examination of potato tubers and foliage at Oamaru, North Otago and Lincoln, Canterbury for P. opercullela parasitoids was undertaken between mid-1967 and late-1973; there are no records of C. curvimaculatus being detected. The C. curvimaculatus released at Nelson in 1969-70 were not known to have bred in that season. No surveys of potato foliage for parasitised P. operculella have been carried out at the North Island and tubers only examined in the North Island at Pukekohe, Auckland (where C. curvimaculatus was not released, and not found).

General comments:

Taxonomic note (4 December 2022) - Microchelonus is regarded as a subgenus of Chelonus (e.g. Zettel 1987), making this taxon Chelonus (Microchelonus) curvimaculatus.


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.

Zettel H (1987). Eine revision der Gattungen der Cheloninae (Hymenoptera, Braconidae) mit beschreibungen neuer Gattungen und Arten. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien. Serie B für Botanik und Zoologie 91: 147-196 http://www.jstor.org/stable/41766816