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New Zealand Plant Protection 63 (2010): 282

Southern ladybird (Cleobora mellyi) is now well established in New Zealand

L.A. Berndt, T.M. Withers and B.A. Gresham

ABSTRACT

The southern ladybird, Cleobora mellyi (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), is a biological control agent of Eucalyptus and Acacia pests, such as Chrysophtharta bimaculata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in Tasmania. Cleobora mellyi was introduced to New Zealand from Australia in the 1970s and 1980s in the hope that it would help control the Eucalyptus tortoise beetle, Paropsis charybdis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). However, establishment was successful at only one site in the Marlborough Sounds. Since that time, additional psyllid species have established on eucalypts and acacia, providing a needed alternative food source for C. mellyi. Further releases were made in 2005 and 2007, and 17 of the 21 release sites were reassessed in the summer of 2009/10. Established populations were found at eight of the sites checked, across the upper North Island and in Southland. Cleobora mellyi is therefore now established in Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Southland, as well as the Marlborough Sounds site. Paropsis charybdis appears to be an alternative, as opposed to primary, food source for C. mellyi, so this predator is unlikely to exert control over P. charybdis as originally hoped. It remains to be determined whether C. mellyi will be beneficial in controlling psyllids or the chrysomelid pest Dicranosterna semipunctata on A. melanoxylon.

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