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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Pseudococcus calceolariae (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) = Pseudococcus citrophilus, Pseudococcus fragilus, Pseudococcus gahani, Pseudococcus similans, citrophilus mealybug

Agent introduced: Coccophagus gurneyi (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae)


1928, 1933

Import source:

Australia via California, USA

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - in December 1928, a consignment of C. gurneyi was sent to the Cawthorn Institute in Nelson from California, USA, originating from material collected in Australia between August 1927 and February 1928. There were no releases from this consignment and by October 1929 all had died. In February 1933, a shipment of four female and one male C. gurneyi was sent from California to Nelson, from which a thriving colony was established for releases.



Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - releases were made in different parts of New Zealand in the latter half of the 1933-34 season and the 1934-35 season. Approximately 27,000 individuals were released in the Nelson district of the South Island and in the North Island from Lower Hutt (Wellington) to the Bay of Islands (Northland).


Cameron et al. (1989) - despite the original extremely small gene pool [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in ‘Import notes’ section], C. gurneyi is now widespread throughout New Zealand.

Impacts on target:

Cameron et al. (1989) - there have been no studies of the impact of C. gurneyi on populations of the three major pseudococcid (mealybug) pests in New Zealand: Pseudococcus longispinus, P. calceolariae and P. viburni [then called P. affinis]. However, in combination with the self-introduced parasitoid Tetracnemoidea brevicornis, it is likely to have considerable impact on P. calceolariae, at least in tree crops.

Cameron et al. (1993) - Coccophagus gurneyi is categorised as exerting “partial” control (defined as “additional control remains commonly necessary but…pest outbreaks occur less frequently”) over Pseudococcidae (mealybug) pests in New Zealand.


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.

Cameron PJ, Hill RL, Bain J, Thomas WP (1993). Analysis of importations for biological control of insect pests and weeds in New Zealand. Biocontrol Science and Technology 3(4): 387-404