The Naturalisation of Animals & Plants in New Zealand.
AbstractThis is an admirable attempt to record the changes in the fauna and flora of New Zealand (possibly the only country for which this could be attempted with a reasonable hope of success) during the past 150 years, and gives data regarding the introduction of every species and its subsequent success or failure. As an example of past acclimatisation blunders in New Zealand, the author cites the contemplated introduction in 1916 of Australian swallows, for the purposes of controlling noxious insects, without any previous enquiry as to their food-habits, or even as to whether the birds are migratory; the extreme importance of expert biological advice in future acclimatisation experiments is emphasised.
Included in a lengthy chapter dealing with over 300 introduced species of insects is an account of the introduction of humble bees, Bombus spp., for the fertilization of red clover (Trifolium pratense), which is now extensively cultivated, but which previous to the advent of these insects only produced seed to a very limited extent. Within nine years of the liberation of 90 queen bees in 1885, £200, 000 was realized on red-clover seed alone. Another beneficial introduction, in 1900, was that of the Coccinellid, Rhizobius ventralis, Erichs., which suppressed a serious outbreak of the scale, Eriococcus coriaceus, attacking Eucalyptus sp., and is now very common.
Important introduced pests include the diamond-back moth, Plutella maculipennis[Plutella xylostella], Curt. (cruciferarum, Z.) introduced over 30 years ago, and now abundant, and Brevicoryne (Aphis) brassicae, L. (cabbage aphis), which is now the most destructive introduced insect in New Zealand, where it causes an estimated annual loss of over £250, 000.
Although much of the detailed information presented in this excellent work does not come within the field covered by this Review, chapters on the interaction of endemic and introduced faunas, and the alteration in the flora since European occupation, contain much data of entomological interest. A digest of the legislation relating to acclimatisation, including a résumé of the regulations guarding against the introduction of insect pests, bee diseases, etc., and a bibliography of 16 pages, conclude this comprehensive study of a subject of far-reaching importance.