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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Hieracium spp. (Asterales: Asteraceae), hawkweed

Agent introduced: Oxyptilus pilosellae (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae), hieracium plume moth


1996, 1997, 2001

Import source:

1996 Switzerland, 1997 2001 Germany



Release details:

Smith (2007) - due to rearing difficulties only released at one site.


Smith (2007) - not thought to have established.

Landcare Research (2015i) - did not establish.

Landcare Research (2020e) - surveys in 2020 at release sites of hieracium biocontrol agents - Canterbury and Otago in the South Island (Marlborough release sites were not visited) and on the Central Plateau of the North Island - did not recover any O. pilosellae and it is presumed to have failed to establish, which is not surprising given the small numbers released.


Landcare Research (2007a). New Zealand Arthropod Collection (NZAC) Biological Control Voucher Collection. http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/resources/collections/nzac/holdings/biological-control-voucher-collection

Landcare Research (2015i). Who's who in biological control of weeds? Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 73: 10-11 http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/newsletters/biological-control-of-weeds/issue-73

Landcare Research (2020e). Hieracium biocontrol – 20 years on. Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 93, Aug 2020 https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/weed-biocontrol/weed-biocontrol-articles/hieracium-biocontrol-20-years-on/

Smith L (2007). Hieracium Plume Moth. In The Biological Control of Weeds Book (Landcare Research) http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/biocons/weeds/book/documents/Hieracium_Plume_Moth.pdf