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New Zealand Plant Protection 69 (2016): 126-132

Mass rearing Pteromalus puparum on Pieris rapae to assist eradication of Pieris brassicae from New Zealand

N.K. Richards, S. Hardwick, R. Toft and C.B. Phillips


Pieris brassicae, great white butterfly, was first detected in New Zealand in May 2010 in Nelson, and since November 2012 has been the target of a Department of Conservation eradication programme. Methods were available for killing P. brassicae eggs, larvae and adults, but not pupae. To assist eradication, a parasitoid of P. brassicae pupae, Pteromalus puparum, was mass reared at Lincoln and released at Nelson locations where there was a high probability of P. brassicae pupae being present. To avoid transporting P. brassicae from Nelson to Lincoln, Pt. puparum was reared on another of its hosts, Pieris rapae, which occurs throughout New Zealand. Between late February and early April 2015, an estimated 14,280 Pt. puparum adults from 837 parasitised P. rapae pupae were released in Nelson. However, parasitism of unparasitised P. rapae pupae, which were used as sentinels for monitoring parasitism rates, remained low. Although evidence of the releases being effective was weak, augmenting Pt. puparum populations remains the most practical method for increasing the mortality of P. brassicae pupae in Nelson.

Keywords: butterfly eradication, great white butterfly, small white butterfly, parasitoid release, parasitoid augmentation, biosecurity.

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