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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Phyllonorycter messaniella (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) = Lithocolletis messaniella, oak leaf-miner

Agent introduced: Pholetesor bicolor (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) = Apanteles bicolor

General comments:

Cameron et al. (1989) - since the 1957 importation into New Zealand from Italy of what was considered at the time to be Apanteles circumscriptus, the circumscriptus group of Apanteles has been revised (by Nixon in 1973) [and has subsequently been placed in the genus Pholetesor]. In 1978, two consignments totalling 200 field-collected Apanteles [now Pholetesor] spp. cocoons were sent from New Zealand to Canada for the biocontrol of Phyllonorycter blancardella. Subsequent identification indicated the first shipment contained only A. arisba and the second only A. bicolor [now Pholetesor arisba and P. bicolor]. If these identifications are correct, the consignments imported to New Zealand from Europe in 1957 presumably contained a mixture of Apanteles [Pholetesor] spp. The true identity of the parasitoids attacking P. messaniella in New Zealand remains to be resolved; until then they should be referred to as A. circumscriptus [P. circumscriptus] group.

Valentine & Walker (1991) - Pholetesor bicolor and P. arisba were introduced into New Zealand from Italy in 1957 (to control P. messaniella) as Apanteles circumscriptus [now Pholetesor circumscriptus]. When “circumscriptus” was introduced from New Zealand to Canada in 1978 the consignments were identified as Apanteles pedias and A. arisba [now Pholetesor bicolor and P. arisba, respectively], the latter described by Nixon from Europe in 1973 and very similar in structure to circumscriptus. Until New Zealand Pholetesor are examined in more detail, the presence of circumscriptus in this country is open to question.

See the Pholetesor circumcriptus group introduction record for details of the introduction of Pholetesor circumcriptus group (considered to contain, or even consist entirely of, P. bicolor and P. arisba) into 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.