A real-time PCR assay for the detection of species from the genera Azadinium and Amphidoma (family Amphidomataceae) was developed in order to screen field samples and to aid in the isolation of azaspiracid (AZA)- producing dinoflagellates. The assay was highly specific and sensitive and allowed the rapid detection of target species. Samples collected as part of the New Zealand Marine Phytoplankton Monitoring Programme were analysed using the Amphidomataceae real-time PCR assay. Azadinium poporum was detected in New Zealand for the first time, and a culture was successfully established. Extracts of this isolate proved to be of low toxicity to mice and did not contain AZA-1, -2 or -3. Field samples will continue to be screened with the aim of identifying AZAproducing species. The Amphidomataceae real-time PCR assay will be a useful tool for monitoring programmes and taxonomic surveys worldwide.