Canadian Forest Service Publications
Egg hatch of forest tent caterpillar (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae) on two preferred host species. 2012. Gray, D.R.; Ostaff, D.P. The Canadian Entomologist 144: 790-797.
Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 34286
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Synchrony between herbivore and host phenology can be an important factor in herbivore fitness. The survival of first-instar forest tent caterpillar (FTC) (Malacosoma disstria Hübner; Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae) larvae and performance of surviving larvae are reduced when egg hatch and host budbreak are asynchronous. Budbreak in trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michaux; Salicaceae) and largetooth aspen (Populus grandidentata Michaux; Salicaceae), two preferred hosts of FTC, differ by ~14 days. We examined the phenological requirements of FTC egg hatch to see if an inherent difference exists between FC egg masses on the two hosts, and if the difference would promote synchrony with each host. Egg masses from a haphazard selection of clones of each host were collected in a mixed stand of trembling and largetooth aspen in New Brunswick, Canada. Egg masses were subjected to controlled temperature regimes in the laboratory, and hatch was monitored daily. Despite the differences in host phenologies and the obvious benefits of being synchronised with host phenology, egg masses collected from trembling aspen began hatching only 3 days earlier, and complted hatching only 2 days earlier, than egg masses collected from largetooth aspen. Bet hedging is discussed as a possible strategy to explain the absence of host-specific synchrony between egg hatch of FTC and the hosts it selects for oviposition.