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Characterisation of attacks made by the mountain pine beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) during its endemic population phase

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 March 2014

K.P. Bleiker*
Affiliation:
Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 506 West Burnside Road, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8Z 1M5
M.R. O'Brien
Affiliation:
Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 506 West Burnside Road, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8Z 1M5
G.D. Smith
Affiliation:
Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 506 West Burnside Road, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8Z 1M5
A.L. Carroll
Affiliation:
Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 506 West Burnside Road, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8Z 1M5
*
2Corresponding author: (e-mail: katherine.bleiker@nrcan.gc.ca).

Abstract

Mountain pine beetle (MPB) Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) attacks and overwhelms the defences of vigorous trees during outbreaks by attacking en masse. Low or endemic populations are regulated by host resistance and restricted to colonising weakened trees, where there is a potential trade off between tree defences and habitat quality. Mountain pine beetle populations are typically in the endemic population phase, but MPB attack behaviour and brood productivity in this phase are poorly understood. We located attacks made by beetles from endemic populations in north-central Alberta, Canada and examined galleries constructed on these trees. The distribution of gallery starts on trees was clustered relative to height on the tree, but not related to aspect on the tree bole. We found no Allee effect associated with mate location as over 99% of galleries were constructed by mated females. Productivity was generally low and brood development rarely reached the pupal stage, with one exception that suggests that endemic populations are capable of rapid increase in certain hosts. Egg galleries constructed by unmated females differed in morphology from galleries created by mated females. To understand the dynamics of this eruptive species, we need to identify the conditions under which endemic populations can persist and periodically increase to densities that result in coordinated mass attacks on healthy trees and lead to outbreaks.

Résumé

Le dendroctone du pin ponderosa (DPP) Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera : Curculionidae) attaque et écrase les défenses d'arbres vigoureux durant les infestations grâce à des attaques massives. Les populations faibles ou endémiques sont régularisées par la résistance de l'hôte et ne peuvent coloniser que les arbres affaiblis, où il y a un compromis potentiel entre les mécanismes de défense des arbres et la qualité de l'habitat. Les populations de DPP sont habituellement dans la phase de population endémique, mais le comportement d'attaque du DPP et la productivité du couvain dans cette phase sont peu compris. Nous avons trouvé des attaques faites par des populations endémiques de DPP dans le Centre-Nord de l'Alberta, Canada et avons examiné les galeries construites sur ces arbres. La distribution du point de départ des galeries sur les arbres était concentrée par rapport à la hauteur sur l'arbre, mais non associée à l'orientation sur le fût de l'arbre. Nous n'avons remarqué aucun effet d'Allee associé à l'emplacement du partenaire d'accouplement puisque plus de 99% des galeries étaient construites par des femelles accouplées. La productivité était généralement faible et le développement du couvain a rarement atteint le stade nymphal, avec une exception qui laisse entendre que les populations endémiques sont capables d'accroissement rapide dans certains hôtes. Les galeries de ponte construites par les femelles non accouplées présentaient une morphologie différente de celles créées par les femelles accouplées. Pour comprendre la dynamique de cette espèce éruptive, nous devons déterminer les conditions dans lesquelles les populations endémiques peuvent survivre et s'accroître périodiquement jusqu’à des densités qui entraînent des attaques massives coordonnées sur des arbres sains et mènent à des infestations.

Type
Behaviour & Ecology
Copyright
Copyright © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, Natural Resources Canada 2014 

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Footnotes

Subject editor: Deepa Pureswaran

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