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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), codling moth

Agent introduced: Liotryphon caudatus (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae)



Import source:

1906 Spain via California, 1942 Canada

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - Liotryphon caudatus (in codling moth cocoons) were obtained from the California State Board of Horticulture in 1906 and reared in the laboratory over the following two years. A further shipment of 200 L. caudatus larvae were received from Canada in May 1942 and reared in the laboratory for releases until at least 1944.



Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - releases were made at 6 orchards [locations not recorded] in 1906, and at 69 orchards throughout New Zealand in 1907. Unknown numbers (but most of the 402 males and 78 females available from the laboratory colony) were released in the summer of 1942/43; most were liberated in three abandoned orchards, presumably in Nelson. Further releases were made in 1944 [details unknown]. In addition, 40 adults were released at Appleby, Nelson, in 1971, from a rearing colony developed from a mated female collected in Hamilton in 1971.


Cameron et al. (1989) - until 1971, when a mated female was found in Hamilton (Waikato), L. caudatus was only known to occur in the Auckland Province. In 1975 a single L. caudatus-parasitised codling moth larva was found at Havelock North (Hawke's Bay). Therefore, the current known distribution is Auckland, Waikato and Hawke's Bay.

Cole & Walker (2011) - in 2010, 9.6% parasitism of codling moth by L. caudatus at a Hawke’s Bay orchard was recorded, and a 2011 survey found an average of 7% parasitism at five abandoned Hawke’s Bay orchards.

Sandanayaka et al. (2017), Charles et al. (2019) - commonly found in Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and Waikato, but not in Nelson or Central Otago, while monitoring for the biocontrol agent Mastrus ridens. The absence of L. caudatus from any Nelson or Central Otago site continues to indicate that it has not established in the South Island.

Impacts on target:

Tillyard (1923) - in Auckland they destroyed a considerable percentage of codling moth larvae.

Cameron et al. (1989) - considered to have very little impact on C. pomonella populations.

Cole & Walker (2011) - in 2010, 9.6% parasitism of codling moth by L. caudatus at a Havelock North, Hawke’s Bay research orchard was recorded. In a February/March 2011 survey of 15 apple orchards (five abandoned, five organic and five IFP (Integrated Fruit Production)) within 10 km of Hastings, Hawke’s Bay found codling moth parasitism by L. caudatus at four of the five abandoned orchards, but none of the organic and IFP orchards. Parasitism averaged 7% (range 0-13%) at the abandoned orchards. The lack of L. caudatus activity in commercial orchards in Hawke’s Bay and the apparent modest levels of parasitism at abandoned sites suggest that the potential introduction of other natural enemies is justified for improving codling moth control and risk management.

Impacts on non-targets:

Cameron et al. (1989) - Liotryphon caudatus has been recorded from Stathmopoda spp. (Lepidoptera: Stathmopodidae).

Sandanayaka et al. (2016) - L. caudatus could potentially compete with Mastrus ridens (also released in New Zealand as a biological control of codling moth) for resources because they oviposit and develop on the same life-stage of C.pomonella (cocooned larvae). Competition experiments in the laboratory showed L. caudatus out-competed M. ridens in an enclosed space, but that ability in a natural ecosystem remains to be investigated.


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.

Charles JG, Sandanayaka WRM, Walker JTS, Shaw PW, Chhagan A, Cole LM, Colhoun K, Davis VA, Wallis DR (2019). Establishment and seasonal activity in New Zealand of Mastrus ridens, a gregarious ectoparasitoid of codling moth Cydia pomonella. BioControl 64: 291–301 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-019-09939-z

Cole LM, Walker JTS (2011). The distribution of Liotryphon caudatus, a parasitoid of codling moth (Cydia pomonella) in Hawke’s Bay apple orchards. New Zealand Plant Protection 64: 222-226 https://www.journal.nzpps.org/index.php/nzpp/article/view/5958

Sandanayaka M, Charles J, Davis V, Chhagan A, Shaw P, Wallis R, Lo P, Cole L, Walker J, Colhoun K. (2017). Establishment of Mastrus ridens (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), an ectoparasitoid of codling moth, in New Zealand. Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods, Langkawi, Malaysia, September 11-15, 2017: 85-87 https://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/FullTextPDF/2017/20173267456.pdf

Sandanayaka WRM, Davis VA, and Charles JG (2016). Interspecific competition between Mastrus ridens and Liotryphon caudatus, ectoparasitoids of codling moth Cydia pomonella. New Zealand Plant Protection 69: 310-317 https://www.journal.nzpps.org/index.php/nzpp/article/view/5902/5730

Tillyard RJ (1923). History of the introduction of beneficial insects into New Zealand. Proceedings of the Pan-Pacific Science Congress, Australia, 383-390.