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Biocontrol introduction

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

Agent introduced: Agathis unicolor (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)


1966-67, 1969-70

Import source:

Northern Argentina and southern Brazil via India

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - between November 1966 and March 1967 there were 13 shipments of A. unicolor from the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control station in India to Nelson, New Zealand; most imported individuals were directly released, although a few were retained for laboratory culture at Lincoln, Canterbury. Between November 1969 and April 1970 there were a further five shipments of A. unicolor from CIBC, India to Nelson, all of which were directly released. The Agathis unicolor 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 1966-67 and 1969-70 shipments were made to New Zealand.



Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - approximate numbers released from the 1966-67 importations were 1,350 at Lincoln, Canterbury and Oamaru, North Otago, South Island (specific numbers at each site was not clear in the records), 425 at Nelson, South Island and 950 at Palmerston North, North Island. Approximate numbers released from the 1969-70 importations were 435 at Lincoln/Oamaru and 500 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 A. unicolor being detected. The A. unicolor 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 A. unicolor was not released, and not found).


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.