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Mythimna separata (Walker) -- Lepidoptera



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Simmonds (1976) reported on an unusual instance of Mythimna separata in New Zealand, where the parasitoid Apanteles ruficrus Hal., primarily attacking Agrotis spp., was imported from Pakistan in an attempt to control cutworms.  However, after liberation the degree of parasitism of M. separate increased markedly from a low level prior to the release of the Pakistan material.  Apanteles ruficrus had already been recorded in New Zealand as a parasitoid of Mythimna.  This indicated, as seemingly probable, that the Pakistan strain of A. ruficrus was very much more effective than its New Zealand counterpart (Simmonds 1976).  It is plain that following the release of the Pakistan material in New Zealand the degree of parasitism by A. ruficrus increased considerably with the subsequent spectacular decline in pest status of Mythimna.  It was questioned whether the New Zealand and Pakistan "stains" of A. ruficrus were sibling species, but impossible to distinguish morphologically.  Simmonds reported that virtually complete biological control was achieved with this project, and that prediction of results would have been all but impossible.



REFERENCES:          [Additional references may be found at:   MELVYL Library ]


Ratcliffe, F. N.  1965.  Biological control.  Austr. J. Sci. 28:  237-40.


Simmonds, F. J.  1972.  Approaches to biological control problems.  Entomophaga 17:  251.


Simmonds, F. J.  1976.  Some recent puzzles in biological control.  Entomophaga 21:  327-32.