Canadian Forest Service Publications

The discovery of Ophiostoma tetropii with the brown spruce longhorn beetle (Tetropium fuscum) in Halifax, Canada. 2013. Harrison, K.J.; Smith, G.A. Pages 213-217 in Seifert, K.A.; De Beer, Z.W.; Wingfield, M.J., editors. The Ophiostomatoid fungi: expanding frontiers. CBS Biodiversity Series 12, CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Year: 2013

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35325

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Plain Language Summary

In 1999, a Eurasian longhorn beetle, the brown spruce longhorn beetle (Tetropium fuscum) (BSLB), was discovered infesting native red spruce trees in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. This beetle was designated a plant quarantine pest because it was able to infest and kill healthy red spruce trees, an important timber species in northeastern North America. It also infested and killed both the native North American P. glauca and P. mariana. Both these species have transcontinental ranges, so the continental threat to forestry and trade would be significant if the beetle were to spread beyond the current, small area in Nova Scotia. While investigating the tree mortality, a species of Ophiostoma was isolated consistently from the infested wood. In Europe, O. tetropii occurs with the two native species of Tetropium, T. fuscum and T. castaneum, which infest dead and dying P. abies. Neither insect is considered a ‘tree killer’ in its native range. Ophiostoma tetropii was isolated repeatedly from spruce trees infested with BSLB, and directly from live beetles using selective media. Non-destructive ‘walkabouts’ by adult beetles permit fungal isolations and allow insect specimens to be preserved as vouchers. In Nova Scotia, O. tetropii appears to be limited to BSLB-infested stands near Halifax. We suggest that the presence of the fungus could be used as an indicator for BSLB detection where the insect itself has not yet been found. We discuss native species of Tetropium, serious damage to the infested area by Hurricane Juan in September 2003, and continuing bark beetle infestation monitoring outside the Halifax region.