B3   >>   BCANZ home   ·   Search database   ·   Browse database

Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Berberis darwinii (Ranunculales: Berberidaceae), Darwin's barberry

Agent introduced: Anthonomus kuscheli (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), Darwin's barberry flower bud weevil


2013, 2014

Import source:


Import notes:

Environment Southland (2012) - Anthonomus kuscheli has been collected from 36° 47’ S to 42° 52’ S in Chile and daylength effects are unlikely to limit establishment in New Zealand, even in Southland (46-47° S). The climates in the region of origin broadly match those in New Zealand, and both weevils should be able to colonise Darwin’s barberry populations wherever these occur here.

Landcare (2015c) - imported adults from Chile spring 2013 and spring 2014; both shipments were infected with microsporidia.

Release details:

Landcare Research (2015i) - releases are likely to be made if still needed after the Darwin's barberry seed weevil (Berberidicola exaratus) is established.

Impacts on non-targets:

Environment Southland (2012) - host range testing was carried out in Chile (the home range of the weed) in 2009/10 and 2010/11 (field surveys and outdoor experiments) and in New Zealand in 2012 (laboratory trials in containment). A total of 17 plant species belonging to families within the order Ranunculales were tested. Adult weevils fed on the leaves and/or buds of all Berberis species offered, but B. thunbergia was the only non-target host that supported complete development. The results indicate that A. kuscheli is unlikely to attack species outside the subfamily Berberidoideae. Therefore, New Zealand native plants are unlikely to be at risk as there are no native species in this subfamily or even in the family Berberidaceae. It is possible that the foliage and buds of ornamental Berberis species growing in New Zealand might be damaged by adult weevils and damaging populations of A. kuscheli could potentially build on B. thunbergia.

EPA Applications:

EPA (2012c) - 19 Jun 2012: application by Environment Southland to release two weevils, Anthonomus kuscheli and Berberidicola exaratus, as biological control agents for the weed Darwin's barberry (Berberis darwinii). EPA Application # APP201363, approved without controls 11 Sep 2012. 8 May 2017 - Environment Southland requested an extension on the 5 year time limit to release Anthonomus kuscheli. EPA approved the extension of the time limit for a further 5 years on 20 Jun 2017, and approval to release the weevils has been extended until 3 Oct 2022.

Landcare Research (2023g) - approval for release has expired; reapplication will be required if releases are to be made.


EPA (2012c). Application to EPA (APP201363) to import and release two weevils, Berberidicola exaratus and Anthonomus kuscheli, as biological control agents for Darwin's barberry (Berberis darwinii). Environmental Protection Authority website https://www.epa.govt.nz/database-search/hsno-application-register/view/APP201363

Environment Southland (2012). Application to EPA (APP201363) to import for release, or release from containment, two weevils, Berberidicola exaratus and Anthonomus kuscheli. Environmental Protection Authority website https://www.epa.govt.nz/assets/FileAPI/hsno-ar/APP201363/6c1c373a3b/APP201363-Application.pdf

Landcare Research (2015c). Darwin's barberry weevil released. What's new in biological control of weeds? 72: 7 http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/newsletters/biological-control-of-weeds/issue-72

Landcare Research (2015i). Who's who in biological control of weeds? Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 73: 10-11 https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/assets/Publications/Weed-biocontrol/Weed_Biocontrol_73.pdf

Landcare Research (2023g). Who's who in the biological control of weeds. Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 105, August 2023 https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/weed-biocontrol/weed-biocontrol-articles/whos-who/