Would St Johns wort beetles have been introduced to New Zealand nowadays


  • R. Groenteman
  • S.V. Fowler
  • J.J. Sullivan




The classical biological control programme against St Johns wort (hereafter SJW) Hypericum perforatum is considered one of the greatest success stories in New Zealands history of weed biocontrol The first biocontrol agent the lesser SJW beetle Chrysolina hyperici (Coleoptera Chrysomelidae) was introduced to New Zealand in 1943 following hostrange testing in Australia which as an acceptable standard at the time did not include indigenous plant species No further hostrange testing was carried out in New Zealand Introduction of the greater SJW beetle C quadrigemina and the gall midge Zeuxidiplosis giardi followed in the 1960s The introduction of SJW beetles was re examined in the light of current hostrange testing standards In host specificity testing SJW beetle larval feeding and adult oviposition took place on indigenous Hypericum spp in both nochoice and choice tests clearly suggesting that these highly effective agents would have been considered unsafe for introduction to New Zealand under current standards Preliminary field observations suggest however that the risk to indigenous Hypericum spp is minimal raising an inevitable dilemma while safety in current host range testing is extremely high are we more likely to reject potentially effective agents through falsepositives expressed in our artificial testing arenas




How to Cite

Groenteman, R., Fowler, S. and Sullivan, J. 2009. Would St Johns wort beetles have been introduced to New Zealand nowadays. New Zealand Plant Protection. 62, (Aug. 2009), 414–414. DOI:https://doi.org/10.30843/nzpp.2009.62.4869.



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