Biological Control Voucher Collection
Classical biological control – the deliberate importation of foreign natural enemies of invertebrate pests and weeds – has been practised in New Zealand for over 125 years.
Voucher specimens of these exotic natural enemies or biocontrol agents are important, because in some cases they may be the only real record of what has been imported into New Zealand. This is because, although current regulations include strict requirements governing taxonomic verification of imported species linked with deposition of voucher specimens into the NZAC, in the past no such requirements existed. Biocontrol agents may have been misidentified or incompletely identified (to genus- or even family-level only), and voucher specimens of importations and releases may or may not have been deposited in any of a number of museums, rather than in one central repository. Even when a biocontrol agent was correctly named at the time of importation, taxonomic changes may leave its identity in doubt. The curation and accurate determination of these voucher specimens is of great importance, as they provide historical information about the true identity of exotic species imported into New Zealand.
NZAC has a separate voucher collection for introduced biological control agents, that has been built up over the past 10 years. This is a list of the specimens held in the Biological Control Voucher Collection, listed under the names the organisms were originally imported under. An example of the use of these voucher specimens is provided by Berry (1998).
The voucher collection is arranged by target organism – that is, the pest the researchers are trying to control. All natural enemies that have been imported to control a particular pest are grouped under the name of that pest or target. The targets are either weeds or arthropods (usually insects).
- Weed targets
List of voucher specimens of arthropods imported into New Zealand to control weeds, arranged under their target weed.
- Arthropod targets
List of voucher specimens of arthropods imported into New Zealand to control arthropod pests, arranged under their target pest.
Format: Targets are listed alphabetically by their scientific name by genus. The scientific name is followed by the authority and then, in brackets, the order and family (for arthropods only). For weeds, the common name follows, in square brackets. Under each target is a bullet list of those species that are represented by voucher specimens in NZAC. The scientific name under which the species was imported into New Zealand is given, followed by the country of origin and the date of importation.