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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Ulex europaeus (Fabales: Fabaceae), gorse

Agent introduced: Tetranychus lintearius (Acarina: Tetranychidae), gorse spider mite


1988, 1991, 1993

Import source:

England, 1988; Spain and Portugal, 1991, 1993

Import notes:

Gourlay (2007) - importation of 5 additional populations from Spain and Portugal in 1993 better suited to the warmer, wetter parts of New Zealand.


1989-1990 and 1993

Release details:

Widely released during 1989-1990 and 1993.

Harman et al. (1996) - strains imported from Portugal and Spain [in 1993] have been released widely throughout New Zealand to improve establishment in warmer, wetter areas.


Gourlay (2007) - following the 1989/90 releases established well throughout New Zealand except in the north of the North Island and the west coast of the South Island. The 1993 releases were from populations in Spain and Portugal where the climate more closely matched the warmer, wetter parts of New Zealand. Now established in all regions of New Zealand.

Impacts on target:

Gouraly (2007) - initial persistent outbreaks stunted growth of bushes. Population suppression of T. lintearius by the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis and the ladybird Stethorus bifidus now limits the frequency and extent of outbreaks.

Impacts on non-targets:

Paynter et al. (2004) - surveys record no feeding on commercial bean crops, despite lab tests predicting minor non-target impacts.


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.

Gourlay H (2007e). Gorse Spider Mite. In The Biological Control of Weeds Book (Landcare Research) https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/discover-our-research/biosecurity/weed-management/using-biocontrol/the-biological-control-of-weeds-book/

Harman HM, Syrett P, Hill RL, Jessep CT. (1996). Arthropod introductions for biological control of weeds in New Zealand, 1929 - 1995. New Zealand Entomologist, 19(1): 71-80

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

Paynter, Q.E., Fowler, A.H., Gourlay, M.L., Haines, M.L., Harman, H.M., Hona, S.R., Peterson, P.G., Smith, L.A., Wilson-Davey, J.R.A., Winks, C.J. and Withers, T.M. (2004). Safety in New Zealand weed biocontrol: A nationwide survey for impacts on non-target plants. New Zealand Plant Protection 57: 102-107