The tomato potato psyllid: lessons from New Zealand for Australia

Nadine Berry *1, David Madge 2, Alan Yen 3

1 The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited, Private Bag 4704, Christchurch, NZ
2 Biosciences Research Division, Department of Primary Industries VIC, Australia
3 Biosciences Research Division, Department of Primary Industries Victoria & La Trobe University, Aust

The exotic insect pest, tomato potato psyllid (TPP, Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc)) was first discovered in Auckland greenhouses and volunteer potatoes in 2006 and has spread rapidly throughout the North Island and into the South Island. To date the TPP has not been found in Australia, but is considered a high plant pest risk. In New Zealand the arrival of the TPP has significantly reduced the use of IPM in greenhouse crops and outdoor tomato and potato crops. In Australia, IPM practices are commonly used for the control of pests such as aphids and the potato tuber moth. The arrival of the TPP would severely impede the use of these practices. Australian researchers aim to gain a better understanding of the TPP/Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum complex in New Zealand to enable development of a number of tools to combat an incursion into Australia. Australian researchers are anticipating an incursion by the TPP and have therefore developed collaborative research projects and an exchange of ideas with New Zealand researchers.New Zealand research to date includes: use of and mode of action of insecticides, national monitoring, diagnostic protocols and techniques, biological control, insect/pathogen/plant interactions, transmission, temperature effects on development and biology, alternative vectors and use of alternative host plant species, especially overwintering hosts.  Australian research has involved preparation of diagnostic protocols for TPP and testing the effectiveness of different TPP surveillance techniques. Australia can gain valuable insights from New Zealand research, in particular: the developmental requirements of TPP life stages alternative plant, especially overwintering, hosts of the TPP and Ca. L. solanacearum; and the potential impacts of a diverse Australian psyllid fauna and its associated natural enemies.

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