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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Icerya purchasi (Hemiptera: Monophlebidae), cottony cushion scale

Agent introduced: Novius cardinalis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) = Rodolia cardinalis, vedalia beetle, cardinal ladybird


Self-introduced before 1888, c1891, 1894, 1922, 1926

Import source:

1891 Australia via California (1891), Australia (1894, 1922, 1926)

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) - Novius cardinalis [then Rodalia cardinalis - see taxonomic note in ‘General comments’ section] was self-introduced to New Zealand prior to 1888, first discovered at Clevedon [then called Wairoa South] near Auckland, North Island. In about 1891, N. cardinalis (of Australian origin) was sent from California, USA to Nelson, South Island to augment the resident population. In 1894, N. cardinalis was first introduced directly from Australia [the place of origin in Australia and destination(s) in New Zealand not specified]. In 1922, 29 larvae and two pupae were sent from New South Wales, Australia to Nelson, and in 1926, 81 larvae, 11 pupae and nine adults from New South Wales were released at Nelson.

Released: 1891, 1894, 1922, 1926

Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - between 1891 and 1926, N. cardinalis was distributed around New Zealand where there were outbreaks of I. purchasi, including Whangerei (Northland) and Auckland in the North Island, and Nelson and Blenheim (Marlborough) in the South Island. The released beetles were either imported from Australia (or in one instance, USA) [see ‘Import notes’ section for details] or sourced from resident populations elsewhere in New Zealand.


Cameron et al. (1989) - Novius cardinalis has been recovered from Auckland, Rotorua (Bay of Plenty), Hawke's Bay and Wanganui (Manawatu-Whanganui region) in the North Island, and Nelson in the South Island.

Impacts on target:

Cameron et al. - there is no doubt that the introductions of N. cardinalis and Cryptochetum iceryae [see Cryptochetum iceryae introduction record] have resulted in excellent control of I. purchasi in New Zealand. While no detailed evaluations have been carried out, it is generally understood that N. cardinalis is the major controlling agent.

General comments:

Taxonomic note (18 February 2023) - Pang et al. (2020) synonymised the genus Rodolia Mulsant under the genus Novius Mulsant.


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.

Pang H, Tang X-F, Booth RG, Vandenberg N, Forrester J, Mchugh J, Ślipiński A (2020). Revision of the Australian Coccinellidae (Coleoptera). Genus Novius Mulsant of Tribe Noviini. Annales Zoologici 70(1): 1-24 https://doi.org/10.3161/00034541ANZ2020.70.1.001

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