Canadian Forest Service Publications

Plant module size influences the intra-tree distribution and abundance of a shoot-boring sawfly in young balsam fir. 2015. Johns, R.C.; Edwards, S.; Carleton, D.; Morrison, A.; Morin, B. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 156: 220-224.

Year: 2015

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36303

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


Field surveys were carried out to assess the effects of intra-tree variation in developing shoot length within and among crown levels on the density and abundance of the balsam shoot-boring sawfly, Pleroneura brunneicornis Rohwer (Hymenoptera: Xyelidae), in young balsam fir, Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. (Pinaceae). Overall, cardinal direction had no influence on shoot-borer density or abundance; however, the highest percentage and abundance of bored shoots occurred on intermediate-sized shoots within the crown (i.e., in the mid-crown and on the distal-lateral and medial-lateral shoots). Comparatively, few shoot borers occurred in the upper or lower crown levels, or on the relatively large terminal shoots within branches. This distribution appears indicative of the higher suitability of intermediate-sized shoots within hosts for either egg lay or larval performance. Results of this study are most consistent with predictions of the "optimal module size" hypothesis, which posits that herbivore responses to plant module size should reflect the balance of tradeoffs between utilizing relatively large, nutritious shoots vs. small, more easily exploited shoots.

Plain Language Summary

Insect distribution varies within trees and understanding this variation is essential for developing monitoring plans and for predicting potential damage of pests. We assessed the distribution of a shootboring sawfly within young balsam fir as part of ongoing efforts to develop an Integrated Pest Management program for this insect pest in Christmas tree plantations. In general, most bored shoots occurred in the mid and lower crown and the terminal shoots at the branch tips and in the upper crown were less commonly affected.