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An individual-based phenology model for western spruce budworm (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 November 2013

V.G. Nealis*
Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
J. Régnière
Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Centre de foresterie des Laurentides, Sainte-Foy, Québec, Canada
1Corresponding author (e-mail:


An individual-based phenology model for western spruce budworm, Choristoneura occidentalis Freeman (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), was developed using stage-specific rates of development, oviposition, and egg hatch observed under controlled conditions at several temperatures. Model output was compared with age distributions estimated by sampling field populations of budworm at several locations in British Columbia, Canada, over many years. The fit of the model was very good for the entire life cycle of the insect. We further validate the model by comparing output with independent observations of moth flight phenology of C. occidentalis and Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens) in populations of Cypress Hills, Canada and illustrate spatial variation in the seasonal occurrence of early-stage feeding western spruce budworm over most of its range in western Canada. In addition to serving as the underlying structure for the modelling of population dynamics at the seasonal level, the model can be used to predict the time of occurrence of different life stages for precise timing of pest management operations.


Un modèle de phénologie basé sur les individus a été développé pour la tordeuse occidentale, Choristoneura occidentalis Freeman (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), en utilisant les taux de développement spécifiques à chaque stade, ainsi que les taux d'oviposition et d’éclosion des œufs observés en conditions contrôlées à plusieurs températures. Les extrants du modèle ont été comparés à la distribution d’âges estimée par échantillonnage de populations naturelles à plusieurs endroits en Colombie-Britannique, Canada, pendant plusieurs années. L'ajustement du modèle est très bon pour tout le cycle vital de l'insecte. Nous validons le modèle plus à fond en comparant ses extrants à des observations indépendantes de la phénologie du vol des papillons de C. occidentalis et C. fumiferana dans des populations de Cypress Hills, Canada. Nous illustrons également la variation spatiale dans les dates d'apparition des jeunes stades larvaires de la tordeuse occidentale sur une grande portion de son aire de distribution dans l'ouest du Canada. En plus de constituer une excellente structure de base pour la modélisation de la dynamique saisonnière des populations de l'insecte, ce modèle peut être utilisé pour mieux synchroniser les opérations de lutte intégrée avec l'apparition des stades appropriés.

Behaviour & Ecology
Copyright © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2013 

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Subject editor: Rob Johns


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