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New Zealand Plant Protection 64 (2011): 155-159

Cleopus japonicus: releases and distribution of the buddleia biological control agent in New Zealand

M.C. Watson, T.M. Withers and M. Heaphy


The buddleia leaf weevil, Cleopus japonicus, was released in New Zealand by Scion in 2006 as a biological control agent for the weed Buddleja davidii. One thousand C. japonicus adults were released at each of five commercial forest sites in the North Island. A further 33 releases of approximately 14,910 C. japonicus were made between 2006 and 2011 in the North and South Islands, on both privately- and publically-owned land and sites of conservation importance. The weevil is known to have established at all sites, with the possible exception of one release made in 2007. Location data of C. japonicus provided by local and regional councils, DOC, forest health officers and others have provided information on the spread of C. japonicus. These data show C. japonicus has spread over 50 km from some release sites and is rapidly increasing in population density and distribution.

Keywords: buddleia leaf weevil, Cleopus japonicus, Buddleja davidii, dispersal, distribution maps.

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