Introducing Eadya daenerys -Mother of Dragons” - a new biocontrol agent in NZ’s fight against the invasive eucalyptus tortoise beetle
In this You-tube clip University of Tasmania entomology associate professor Dr Geoff Allen and Scion entomologist Roanne Sutherland, discuss a joint biological control initiative between Scion New Zealand and the University of Tasmania to combat an invasive beetle species in New Zealand. The culmination of an 8 year project between Dr Toni Withers at Scion and Dr Allen at the University saw the collection and importation in December 2019 of these important parasitoid wasps named Eadya daenerys. The parasitoid is a native in Australia, where it plays an important role in the ecology of their eucalyptus forests by combating the spring generation of defoliating beetles. After intensive research the EPA in 2019 approved the introduction of this parasitoid into New Zealand as a beneficial for its ability to impact upon the invasive species, the eucalyptus tortoise beetle, Paropsis charybdis. The recollection of adult parasitoids in 2019 was untaken by Dean Satchell from the NZ Farm Forestry Association (NZFFA), as well as Roanne Sutherland. This important field exploration was funded by the Specialty Wood Products partnership, two eucalyptus growing companies in New Zealand, as well as the Eucalyptus action group of the NZFFA, the Gisborne branch of the NZFFA and a private contributor. From Australia the live parasitoids were imported into then intensively studied within Scion’s Insect Containment Facility. A biological hurdle with the colony means this research will need to be extended for another year, but the project team are determined to not give up after hitting a set-back on the final straight. One more collecting trip to obtain a new population of individual parasitoids from another locality is planned for 2020. Biological control, when successful, is one of the most sustainable and cost-effective ways of reducing the harmful impacts of invasive organisms in New Zealand.