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Introduced leafminer spreading in stands of Eucalyptus nitens

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Formerly known as the Forest Research Institute, Scion has been a leader in research relating to forest health for over 50 years. The Rotorua-based Crown Research Institute continues to provide science that will protect all forests from damage caused by insect pests, pathogens and weeds. The information presented below arises from these research activities.

From Forest Health News 116, March 2002.

The black butt leafminer, Acrocercops laciniella, was first detected in New Zealand in Auckland early in 1999, and by February, 2001, had reached parts of the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions (FHNews 83: 1; 104: 1). It continues to spread, and last spring was found on Eucalyptus pilularis (black butt) in Northland. This insect feeds on a variety of eucalypt hosts and there has been concern that it might become a significant pest in stands of E. nitens, as it has in plantations of E. nitens and E. globulus in Tasmania. Sure enough, populations of A. laciniella increased significantly in young stands of E. nitens in the Bay of Plenty region last summer. It is now common to find it on young flushing juvenile and sometimes adult foliage, forming characteristic spiral leaf mines that radiate out from the site where the egg was laid. Older mines eventually form a distinctive white blister that may cover up to a third of the leaf surface. There is currently no funding to support a biological control initiative against this pest, and its increase and spread is being viewed with some apprehension.

Toni Withers, Forest Research

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