Agathis australis scale damage, Britomart Square, 14 July 2015. Photo: Peter J. de LangeBreaking news - the scale insect has been indentified as a native species, Leucaspis portaeaureae
Stephen Thorpe a contract entomologist working from the University of Auckland, Tamaki Campus noted a potentially new scale affecting planted kauri (Agathis australis) trees at Britomart Square, Auckland Central. The scale, possibly a species of Leucaspis was first collected in late 2014 by SCION staff examining kauri plantings but for some reason its significance seems to have gone unnoticed until earlier this week when Thorpe independently noted the scale at Britomart Square. Since then there have been five more discoveries of the scale made in inner and western Auckland - so far only on planted trees.
Kauri scale Leucaspis Morningside leaves with scale bar, 15 July 2015. Photo: Peter J. de LangeA series of observations reporting these have been posted on Nature Watch NZ search under ‘Kauri Scale’.
The presence of the scale and its likely implications for kauri is now being investigated by the Minsistry for Primary Industries (MPI).
NZPCN would ask if website visitors could please examine kauri growing in their regions (cultivated or otherwise) to see if the scale is present. Minor infestations are scarcely evident, and are best seen by turning over the kauri ‘leaves’ where the scale can be seen as narrowly clavate, flattened, white bodies (see images). In more severe infestations the upper ‘leaf’ surface of afflicted trees is streaked with yellow.
If you find any scale please call MPI Exotic Pest and Disease Emergency Hotline (0800-809-966) to report the occurrence.
To see high resolution images of kauri scale visit the NZPCN fact sheet for kauri.