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Biocontrol introduction

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

Agent introduced: Orgilus lepidus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)


1966-67, 1969-70

Import source:

Northern Argentina and southern Brazil via India

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - between January and March 1966 and between November 1966 and March 1967 there were a total of 34 shipments of O. lepidus from the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control station in India to Nelson, New Zealand; most were directly released although a few were retained at Lincoln, Canterbury and Nelson for laboratory culture. Between November 1969 and April 1970 there were a further five shipments of O. lepidus 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 O. lepidus 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 11,787 at Lincoln, Canterbury and Oamaru, North Otago, South Island (specific numbers at each site was not clear in the records), 2,500+? at Nelson, South Island and 5,850 at Palmerston North, North Island. Approximate numbers released from the 1969-70 importations were 1,370 at Lincoln/Oamaru and 1,150 at Nelson.


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 O. lepidus being detected. The O. lepidus released at Nelson in 1969-70 were not known to have bred in that season. No surveys of potato foliage for parasitised P. operculella have been carried out at the North Island and tubers only examined in the North Island at Pukekohe, Auckland (where O. lepidus was not released, and not found).


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.