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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae), diamondback moth

Agent introduced: Cotesia vestalis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) = Cotesia plutellae, Apanteles plutellae


1937-38, 1938-39, 1940

Import source:


Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - Cotesia vestalis was imported (as Apanteles plutellae Kurdjumov, which was subsequently placed in the genus Cotesia) [see taxonomic note in the ‘General comments’ section] from the Netherlands. There were seven consignments in 1937-38, totalling 13,380 parasitoid cocoons (in host pupae), one consignment of 300 cocoons in 1938-39 and three consignments of 5,620 cocoons in 1940. Attempts were made to establish laboratory and field-cage colonies from the 304 males and 445 females that emerged from the 1937-38 importations, but these adults were weak and pupae were attacked by an indigenous Trichomalopsis sp. parasitoid. The colony died out within two generations and no releases were made. No further details were found for the 1938-39 and 1940 importations.


Cameron et al. (1989) - not released.

General comments:

Taxonomic note (29 January 2023) - Shaw (2003) validated the name Cotesia vestalis as the senior synonym of Cotesia plutellae (Kurdjumov).


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.

Shaw MR (2003). Revised synonymy in the genus Cotesia (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Microgastrinae): the identity of Microgaster vestalis Haliday, 1834, as a senior synonym of Apanteles plutellae Kurdjumov, 1912. Entomologist’s Gazette 54(3): 187-189