Parasitoid on Cardiaspina fiscella
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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 No. 95, April 2000.
The health of Eucalyptus saligna and Eucalyptus botryoides trees in the northern half of the North Island can be expected to improve as populations of Cardiaspina fiscella, the brown lace lerp, continue to be killed by a parasitoid, Psyllaephagus gemitus. Last month (FHNews 94:1) we reported the discovery of this parasitoid, identified for Forest Research by Dr Jo Berry (hymenopterist at NZAC, Landcare Research, Auckland), in the Northland and Auckland bioregions. Parasitised nymphs have now been located between Whangarei in the north and Waihi (Coromandel bioregion) in the south. Further collections of C. fiscella from around the North Island are needed to ascertain the distribution of P. gemitus.
This same parasitoid, P. gemitus, was investigated in 1997 as a possible biological control agent for C. fiscella by entomologists funded by the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association. The project reached the stage of applying to the Environmental Risk Management Authority for permission to import into containment at Mt Albert Research Centre, Auckland. In May 1999, ERMA granted this permission as long as strict controls, designed to minimise the likelihood of accidental release from the secure containment facility, were followed. However it was never imported and instead has become another accidental introduction. At this stage the risk posed by P. gemitus to native psyllids is unknown.
Toni Withers, Forest Research
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