In September 2022, FABI imported a new potential biological control agent of the Eucalyptus snout beetle, Gonipterus sp. n. 2, an important insect pest of Eucalyptus in South Africa. The potential biocontrol agent is a tachinid fly, Anagonia lasiophthalma, which parasitizes the larval stage of the beetle. The flies were imported from RAIZ, a forest and research paper institute in Portugal, where they have since released A. lasiopthalma into the field to manage G. platensis, the species most commonly found in Portugal.

Work led by technical assistant Amy Collop, and supported by Samantha Bush, Dr Michelle Schröder and Prof. Brett Hurley, confirmed that Gonipterus sp. n. 2 is a host of this parasitoid. However, the team faced many challenges establishing a laboratory colony of A. Lasiopthalma at FABI.

In August 2023, Amy Collop visited RAIZ to gain a first-hand experience of how the parasitoid is reared and to determine if there are significant size differences between Gonpiterus sp. no. 2 and G. platensis that could have influenced the rearing of this parasitoids. With newfound knowledge, and ideas to update the parasitoid rearing at FABI, Amy brought another shipment of A. lasiopthalama into South Africa to attempt rearing the insects for a second time. Once a healthy colony is established in the lab, the team will continue to test non-target insects to assess the if A. lasiopthalma is safe to release into the field.

Special thanks to Catarina Goncalves, Catia Martins, Rita Angelo, Luis Mota and Daniel Oliveira for being incredible hosts and sharing their knowledge.