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2 February 2000
No new signs of the exotic gum leaf skeletoniser caterpillar (Uraba lugens) have been found in a January survey by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Tauranga.
This is the first time since the caterpillar’s discovery in 1997 that surveillance has been unable to detect it.
Gum leaf skeletoniser caterpillars were first found in New Zealand at the Mount Maunganui golf course in 1997. The insect is native to Australia and is known to cause serious damage to eucalypt trees.
Since its discovery in 1997, a series of surveys have been carried out within a 5km radius zone of the original discovery site. Any infested trees detected during the surveys and surrounding host trees have been treated with an insecticide. In some instances infested trees have been removed.
The January survey was expanded to include identified host trees outside the original infestation zone. The results were encouraging with no evidence of the exotic insect being found.
Monitoring of host trees within the Tauranga district will continue with the next survey planned later this year.
For further information please contact:
Mark Ross, National Advisor – Forest Pest Surveillance and Response, Forest Biosecurity Group, MAF Biosecurity Authority, Ph 04 498 9611 or 025 248 3296
Dr Ruth Frampton, Director – Forest Biosecurity, Forest Biosecurity Group, MAF Biosecurity Authority, Ph 04 498 9639 or 025 350 801