BioControl (2012) 57, 619-626

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John G. Charles (2012)
Assessing the non-target impacts of classical biological control agents: is host-testing always necessary?
BioControl 57 (5), 619-626
Abstract: Release of a biocontrol agent in New Zealand is typically preceded by non-target testing of native or valued species. Nevertheless, if both the target pest and the natural enemy are very different from any native fauna, then there may be no scientific justification for host testing. Gonatocerus ashmeadi (Girault) (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) is being considered as a biocontrol agent for glassy winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar) (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), should the pest arrive. An assessment of the potential impact of G. ashmeadi on New Zealand's Cicadellidae and Membracidae, from published literature data, indicates that none of these insects is at risk, as their eggs will not be recognised by the parasitoid because either their size or location places them outside the parasitoid's search pattern. Consequently, there is no scientific case for any non-target host-testing to be carried out in containment.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
classical biocontrol/new introduction
non-target effects/fate in environm.

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Homalodisca vitripennis
Cosmocomoidea ashmeadi (parasitoid) Homalodisca vitripennis