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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae)

Agent introduced: Coccinella undecimpunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), eleven-spotted ladybird


1874? [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in 'Import notes' section, and Galbreath & Cameron (2015) entry in 'General comments' section]

Import source:

Europe (UK?)

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - there is little information available on the circumstances of this, probably the first, purposeful introduction into New Zealand of an insect for biocontrol. In a 1926 publication, Tillyard considered this could possibly have been an accidental introduction, but other authors, in publications in 1930, 1936 and 1962, report that the introduction took place in 1874. Miller, in 1964, reported that members of Otago Museum and the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society secured supplies of C. undecimpunctata from the Entomological Society of London. However, Miller also considered the species could have been established in New Zealand as early as 1837. [See Galbreath & Cameron (2015) entry in 'General comments' section for a more recent assessment of the introduction of C. undecimpunctata.]

Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - no release details are recorded. The staff of the Department of Agriculture were responsible for much of the early redistribution of C. undecimpunctata within the country once it had become established.


Cameron et al. (1989) - now very widespread throughout lowland New Zealand.

Impacts on target:

Cameron et al. (1989) - Coccinella undecimpunctata is the most abundant coccinellid in field crops and occasionally decimates aphid populations in lucerne. However, it is rare in spring aphid populations and provides unpredictable control in summer and autumn. Its impact is compromised by parasitism by the braconid wasp Dinocampus coccinellae (up to 85%) and infection of overwintering adults by the fungus Beauveria bassiana in wet weather conditions (when mortality can be over 90%).

General comments:

Cameron et al. (1989) - of the large number of exotic aphids present in New Zealand, five important field and fruit crop species were initially considered as the targets for biocontrol in the second phase (from 1965) of introductions of beneficial insects, although it is recognised that many other species which attack host plants in New Zealand can be of sporadic or regional importance. Those five species are: Brevicoryne brassicae [cabbage aphid], Myzus persicae [green peach aphid], Rhopalosiphum padi [bird cherry-oat aphid], Sitobion miscanthi [Indian grain aphid] and Macrosiphum euphorbiae [potato aphid]. [Aphid pests that have been targeted by specific biocontrol agents in New Zealand are: Acyrthosiphon kondoi (bluegreen lucerne aphid), Acyrthosiphon pisum (pea aphid) Cavariella aegopodii (carrot-willow aphid), Eriosoma lanigerum (woolly apple aphid), Hyperomyzus lactucae (sowthistle aphid) Metopolophium dirhodum (rose-grain aphid), Myzus persicae (green peach aphid), Therioaphis trifolii (spotted alfalfa aphid), Tuberculatus annulatus (oak aphid) and Tuberolachnus salignus (giant willow aphid). See the introduction records for these target species for details.]

Galbreath & Cameron (2015) - although the introduction of C. undecimpunctata in 1874 is widely quoted as the first introduction of an insect into NZ for biocontrol, literature analysis reveals no evidence such an introduction was ever attempted. There is clear evidence this is a spurious record created by cumulative misreporting, and that this insect has therefore established from an accidental introduction.


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.

Galbreath RA and Cameron PJ (2015). The introduction of the eleven-spotted ladybird Coccinella undecimpunctata L. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) to New Zealand in 1874: a spurious record created by cumulative misreporting. New Zealand Entomologist 38 (1): 7-9