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Painted apple moth catch another immigrant

Tuesday 11 October 2005

Painted apple moth catch another immigrant

Biosecurity New Zealand today confirmed that a Painted apple moth trapped in Otahuhu on 26 August 2005 was most probably a hitchhiker that had arrived from Australia after it had pupated, rather than from an established New Zealand population.

Biosecurity New Zealand’s eradication programmes manager, Ian Gear, said the same forensic tests used to identify the origins of a Painted apple moth caught at Otahuhu in May 2005 were used again to assist with the identification of this latest moth.

The forensic stable isotope testing was done by the Dunedin company Iso-trace New Zealand Limited.

“Testing of this latest moth has been delayed by a prolonged series of events associated with bringing a vital item of test equipment from Italy to Dunedin,” Ian Gear said.

“But since this moth was trapped, we have conducted extensive ground searches in the Otahuhu area to see if there was a population of Painted apple moths there that may have been associated with this catch. These searches have not found any evidence of a population, nor have our traps caught any more moths.

“Every month that passes gives us increasing confidence that our eradication efforts in west Auckland have been successful, although we cannot give an official all-clear until January 2006.

“We are greatly encouraged by the forensic analysis testing available through Iso-trace and are working with that company to refine their procedures even further to provide information about likely countries of origin for invasive moth pests.

“Biosecurity New Zealand uses two identification techniques: one involving DNA analysis and the other stable isotopes. The results of both tests give us a high level of assurance that the two painted apple moths we have tested have come from a country other than New Zealand,” Ian Gear said.

ENDS

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