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Leaf beetle recorded in New Zealand for the first time

Leaf beetle recorded in New Zealand for the first time

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25 Mar 24 Biosecurity News

Leaf beetle recorded in New Zealand for the first time

In a demonstration of the value of reporting, an unexpected visitor spotted on an orchard has no biosecurity risk but is interestingly a first-time visitor on kiwifruit.

Earlier this year KVH followed up on the finding of a brightly coloured beetle, found by an observant grower working in his Gold kiwifruit block.

The beetle was causing no harm but the 10mm visitor was unusual so was photographed, secured in a container and reported through to KVH.

Images shared through Find-a-Pest were unable to initially identify the beetle but the Plant Health & Environment Laboratory Entomology team at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) quickly linked with overseas experts who identified it as a Paropsistema sp. beetle from a large genus native to Papua New Guinea and Australia. This eucalyptus feeding beetle was sent into MPI for further identification and molecular analysis.

The find represented a first record of this particular Paropsisterna sp. leaf beetle in New Zealand, and a first record on kiwifruit.

The MPI investigation team completed a follow-up visit of the orchard site and surrounds but found no evidence of an established population. No biosecurity risk was associated with the detection and the investigation is now complete.

KVH thanks all those involved for being proactive and reporting this colourful exotic visitor to us. Thanks also to the laboratory team for a rapid follow-up of this new but harmless detection.

Image: Leaf beetle photographed on a kiwifruit vine and reported to KVH, very red in colour.


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