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Psyllid reaches the Bay of Plenty

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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 115, February 2002.

The lerp-forming psyllid, Eucalyptolyma maideni, first found in Auckland Domain in 1996 (FHNews 50: 1; 51: 1), has now extended its range to the Bay of Plenty region.

This sap-sucking insect was discovered on leaves of Eucalyptus citriodora at Mount Maunganui in February by Vigil Forest Health Advisers Les Renney and John Pascoe, during a programmed monitoring survey being undertaken for the gum leaf skeletoniser (Uraba lugens) on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The new record is the first of this species outside the Auckland biological region, and represents a significant increase in its range.

The lerp (the protective shield made by the insect from plant sugars) is quite distinctive, being roughly triangular in shape, 8-to-12 mm long, with fringed edges. From a distance, the lerps resemble large mealy bugs on the leaf surface, but closer inspection under a lens reveals a pattern not unlike the skeleton of a fish. Eucalyptolyma maideni feeds only on a small group of bloodwood eucalypts ( E. maculata, E. citriodora, E. gummifera), so its impact on trees and forests in the new region should not be too great.

John Pascoe, Vigil

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(Scion is the trading name of the New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited.)


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