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Biocontrol introduction

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

Agent introduced: Diadegma pulchripes (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) = Diadegma turcator

Imported: 1969-70

Import source:


Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1989) – between November 1969 and April 1970 there were three shipments of Diadegma pulchripes [probably as D. 'raoi' - see taxonomic note in the 'General comments' section] from the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control station in India to Nelson, New Zealand; 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.



Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - approximate numbers released from the 1969-70 importations were 100 at Lincoln, Canterbury and Oamaru, North Otago, South Island (specific numbers at each site was not clear in the records) and 110 at Nelson, South Island.


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 D. pulchripes being detected. The D. pulchripes released at Nelson in 1969-70 were not known to have bred in that season.

General comments:

Taxonomic note (16 December 2022) - Diadegma turcator was described by Aubert in 1971 and was subsequently synonymised with D. pulchripes (Kokujev, 1915) (Yu 2009). Cameron et al. (1989), describing the introduction of this taxon to New Zealand, use the name D. turcator, noting that it is synonymous with the MS name (manuscript name i.e. not formally described) Diadegma ‘raoi’ used in a 1971 Rao et al. publication [not accessed]. Given that D. turcator was not described until after the importation of this species to New Zealand, it was presumably introduced as D. ‘raoi’. This assumption is supported by the entry in the Landcare Research Biological Control Voucher Collection (accessed 16 December 2022) for Diadegma raoi as a biocontrol agent of Phthorimaea operculella; the voucher specimen, from India, and was lodged in the collection in 1970.


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.

Landcare Research (Accessed 16 December 2022). Biological Control Voucher Collection: Arthropod Targets. Landcare Research website https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/tools-and-resources/collections/new-zealand-arthropod-collection-nzac/databases-and-holdings/new-t2-landing-page/arthropod-targets/

Yu DSK (2009). Diadegma pulchripes (Kokujev, 1915) Taxapad Ichneumonoidea. In Bánki O, Roskov Y, Döring M, Ower G, Vandepitte L, Hobern D, Remsen D, Schalk P, DeWalt RE, Keping M, Miller J, Orrell T, Aalbu R, Adlard R, Adriaenssens EM, Aedo C, Aescht E, Akkari N, Alexander S, et al., Catalogue of Life Checklist (May 2009). https://www.catalogueoflife.org/data/taxon/6D2GS