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Biocontrol introduction

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

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



Import source:

North America via Australia

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - in March 1949 a permit was obtained to import one shipment of several P. opercullela parasitoids, including C. phthorimaea, from Australia, for release after laboratory emergence of adults. The Australian C. phthorimaea had originally been sourced from North America.



Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - unknown numbers of adult C. phthorimaea were [seemingly] released at Nelson from the 1949 importation.


Cameron et al. (1989) - surveys at Nelson after the 1969-70 releases of other P. opecullela parasitoids there did not record C. phthorimaea. Neither have surveys elsewhere in the South Island (sporadic examination of potato tubers and foliage at Oamaru, North Otago and Lincoln, Canterbury for P. opercullela parasitoids between mid-1967 and late-1973) recorded C. phthorimaea.

General comments:

Taxonomic note (7 December 2022) - Microchelonus is regarded as a subgenus of Chelonus (e.g. Zettel 1987), making this taxon Chelonus (Microchelonus) phthorimaea.


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