The psyllid, Arytainilla spartiophila is one of two successful biocontrol agents released in Australia to help control Scotch broom.
Scotch broom biocontrol agent: psyllid
This psyllid is one of two successful biological control agents released in Australia to help control Scotch broom.
10 July 2006 | Updated 14 October 2011
The psyllid, Arytainilla spartiophila, is the second biological control agent to be introduced to assist in the control of Scotch broom in Australia and was first released in 1994.
The psyllid has one generation per year with a prolonged diapause in the egg stage of 5 - 6 months during winter. In summer, adult female psyllids cut slits in the stems of broom plants and insert eggs singly into each slit.
The following spring, nymphs hatch and feed in the buds and other actively growing parts of the plant. The nymphal stage lasts about two months.
The psyllids suck sap from cells of
developing buds on Scotch broom,
preventing flowering and reducing seed
The winged adults are very mobile and high populations can cause severe damage. Adult emigration occurs readily, even at low population levels, and new bushes are quickly colonised.
The psyllid was successfully recovered near Braidwood in southern New SouthWales, during 1998, however field releases in Australia have been slow to build. A live culture was imported into quarantine from New Zealand and after a generation in quarantine was redistributed during late 1999.
About 6 000 adult psyllids were released during October 1999 at 16 sites in New South Wales (including Barrington Tops and Katoomba), Tasmania and South Australia.
Learn more about the Biological control of Scotch broom.