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Biocontrol introduction

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

Agent introduced: Copidosoma desantisi (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae)


1949 (probably C. desantisi that was imported [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in 'Import notes' section])

Import source:

North America via Australia (imported as Copidosoma koehleri but was probably C. desantisi [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in 'Import notes' section])

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - in March 1949 a permit was obtained to import one shipment of several P. opercullela parasitoids, including Copidosoma koehleri, from Australia, for release after laboratory emergence of adults. The numbers imported were not recorded. However, in 1946, Australia had imported Copidosoma desantisi and not C. koehleri, so it is likely that this was the species introduced to New Zealand and released.


1949? (probably C. desantisi that was released [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in 'Import notes' section])

Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) – unknown numbers of adults (probably C. desantisi [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in 'Import notes' section]) 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. desantisi (or C. koehleri). 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 either of these species.

General comments:

Taxonomic note (7 December 2022) - Annecke & Mynhardt (1974) note that the Argentinian and Uruguayan species Copidosoma koehleri has been repeatedly misidentified, and describe C. desantisi for the misidentified species that originated in Chile.


Annecke DP, Mynhardt MJ (1974). On the identity of Copidosoma koehleri Blanchard, 1940 (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae). Journal of the Entomological Society of South Africa 37(1): 31-33 https://hdl.handle.net/10520/AJA00128789_2834

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.