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New Zealand Plant Protection 58 (2005): 191-196

Parasitism of gum leaf skeletoniser (Uraba lugens) in New Zealand

S. Mansfield, D.J. Kriticos, K.J.B. Potter and M.C. Watson

ABSTRACT

The gum leaf skeletoniser (Uraba lugens), a significant pest in Australia, is now well established on Eucalyptus spp. in the Auckland region. One larval parasitoid (Meteorus pulchricornis) and two pupal parasitoids (Xanthopimpla rhopaloceros and Anacis sp.) were recorded from U. lugens collected in southwest Auckland. Parasitism of M. pulchricornis and X. rhopaloceros against U. lugens and other hosts in New Zealand (Helicoverpa armigera and Epiphyas postvittana, respectively) was compared using no-choice and choice tests under controlled conditions. Uraba lugens is a suitable host for development of both M. pulchricornis and X. rhopaloceros. Choice tests revealed that M. pulchricornis prefers H. armigera larvae to U. lugens. Attack by X. rhopaloceros occurred only when host pupae were presented within their cocoons. Meteorus pulchricornis may compete with proposed classical biological control agents introduced against U. lugens, while X. rhopaloceros is more likely to complement them.

Keywords: biological control, Eucalyptus, Nolidae, parasitoid, Uraba lugens.

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