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Biocontrol introduction

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

Agent introduced: Diadegma mollipla (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) = Diadegma molliplum, Diadegma stellenboschense


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 five shipments of D. mollipla [presumably as D. stellenboschense - see taxonomic note in the ‘General comments’ section] from the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control station in India to Nelson, New Zealand, with all individuals being directly released. Between November 1969 and April 1970 there were a further four shipments of D. mollipla from India to Nelson; most were directly released although a small number were retained at Nelson for laboratory culture. A limited number were bred and a few released there before the laboratory host population became infected with a granulosis virus and the rearing programme was terminated. The D. mollipla 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 shipments were made to New Zealand.



Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - approximate numbers released from the 1966-67 importations were 510 at Lincoln, Canterbury and Oamaru, North Otago, South Island (specific numbers at each site was not clear in the records). Approximate numbers released from the 1969-70 importations were 155 at Lincoln/Oamaru and 170 at Nelson, South Island.


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 D. mollipla being detected. The D. mollipla released at Nelson in 1969-70 were not known to have bred in that season.

General comments:

Taxonomic note (10 December 2022) - Townes & Townes (1973, in Gupta 1974) synonymised Diagedma (Nythobia) stellenboschense (at that time the name in use for this taxon (Gupta 1974)) with Limneria mollipla Holmgren, 1868, as Diadegma molliplum. Carson (2009) considered the emendation by Townes & Townes of “mollipla” to “molliplum” to be unjustified and considered Diadegma mollipla the valid spelling. Current databases, e.g. GBIF, WaspWeb (van Noort 2022) (both accessed 10 December 2022) give Diadegma mollipla as the currently accepted name.


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.

Carlson RW (2009). Database of Hymenoptera in America north of Mexico: Superfamily Ichneumonoidea, Family Ichneumonidae. Discover Life website: Proceedings of Life, last updated 21 July 2009 https://www.discoverlife.org/proceedings/0000/6.Krombein_et_al_1979/html/Ichneumonidae.html

GBIF (Accessed 10 December 2022). Species: Diadegma mollipla. Global Biodiversity Information Facility website https://www.gbif.org/species/1290941

Gupta VK (1974). Studies on certain porizontine Ichneumonids reared from economic hosts (Parasitic Hymenoptera). Oriental Insects 8(1): 99-116

van Noort S (Accessed 10 December 2022). Hymenoptera of the Afrotropical region: Diadegma mollipla (Holmgren). WaspWeb http://www.waspweb.org/ichneumonoidea/ichneumonidae/campopleginae/Diadegma/Diadegma_mollipla.htm