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ERMA To Consider Importation Of Two Insects

ERMA New Zealand has received an application to import two insects to control the weed Californian thistle.

ERMA New Zealand Chief Executive, Rob Forlong, said the Californian Thistle Action Group had applied to import and release Ceratapion onopordi and Cassida rubiginosa to biologically control Californian thistle (Cirsium arvense).

Ceratapion onopordi is a minute weevil from Europe whose larvae feed on and can debilitate the stems of a number of thistles. The larvae of the Cassida rubiginosa beetle reduce the growth and survival rates of a range of thistles by feeding on their leaves.

Mr Forlong said the application included approval to initially release the insects in Otago Southland, Manawatu and Wanganui.

"However, the applicant's expectation is the insects would eventually colonise regions throughout New Zealand, either naturally or with the assistance of farmers or regional councils," he said.

Submissions on the application opened on 13 November, and will close on 19 January 2007.

Application and submission forms can be downloaded from www.ermanz.govt.nz Printed copies of the application are available by phoning 0800 376 234, writing to ERMA New Zealand, PO Box 131, Wellington, or emailing submissions@ermanz.govt.nz

ends

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