Eucalyptus variegated beetle

MPI needs your help to prevent Eucalyptus variegated beetles from spreading throughout New Zealand and damaging our developing eucalyptus forestry industry.


Background

Eucalytpus variegated beetle on a leaf
If you see this pest, catch it and call us on 0800 80 99 66.

The Eucalyptus variegated beetle (Paropsisterna variicollis) is an Australian leaf beetle. Its larvae feed on the leaves of eucalyptus trees and can cause significant damage.

It was first found in New Zealand at Te Pohue, Hawkes Bay in March 2016. It has since been detected on Eucalyptus viminalis, E. globulus, E. obliqua and E. reg-nans across the Hawkes Bay region.

Identification

Eucalyptus variegated beetle eggs & larvae (left) and full-grown larvae (right)
Left: Eucalyptus variegated beetle eggs and larvae on a partially-eaten leaf. Right: Fully-grown Eucalyptus variegated beetle larvae have yellow and black bodies with dark lines down their backs.

Eggs are a pale yellow colour and laid in batches on young eucalypt foliage.

Fully-grown larvae look similar to small, yellow caterpillars. They have an obvious dark line down the middle of their backs, dark-coloured heads and dark colouring at the back end on their undersides. They often feed in groups.

Adult beetles are:

  • 8mm to 10mm long
  • oval-shaped
  • vary in colour from a pale brownish-yellow to orange-brown
  • black or very dark-coloured underneath with pale patches at the bases of their legs.
3 Eucalyptus variegated beetles compared to 2 millimeter scale
Adult beetles can grow up to 10mm long. (Image: NZ Forest Owners' Association)

Risk to New Zealand

These beetles threaten New Zealand's developing eucalyptus forestry sector.

What's being done?

Two rounds of surveillance have been carried out to confirm:

  • exactly where the beetles are located
  • how established the beetles are.

The first checks were done shortly after it was discovered. They found it was relatively widespread in the Hawkes Bay. Surveillance in early October 2016 confirmed it is widespread across the Hawkes Bay hinterland – they were found in more than 20 surveyed locations.

MPI is working with the New Zealand Forest Owners' Association to manage the incursion of these beetles.

Report any sightings

If you think you've seen one of these beetles, their larvae or any eggs, catch them and call us on 0800 80 99 66.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the beetle:

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