Canadian Forest Service Publications

Gallery success, brood production, and condition of mountain pine beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) reared in whitebark and lodgepole pine from Alberta, Canada. 2016. Esch, E.D.; Langor, D.W.; Spence, J.R. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 46:557-563 (2016).

Year: 2016

Available from: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36628

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2015-0351

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Breeding pairs of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) were introduced into freshly cut bolts of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm. ex S. Watson) in the laboratory. Brood adults emerging from the bolts were collected and galleries were dissected to compare reproductive success, brood production, and adult condition between the two pines. Beetles were more likely to establish egg galleries that produced brood in lodgepole pine than in whitebark pine. Larval gallery density per centimetre of egg gallery was significantly higher in whitebark pine than in lodgepole pine; however, egg galleries also tended to be shorter in whitebark pine bolts, and consequently, brood adults emerging production per gallery did not differ between the two host species. Female body size, mass, and fat content of brood adults and survival from larva to adult did not differ between beetles reared in the two hosts. Though this no-choice assay did not simulate the sequence of events occurring during host selection, these results are consistent with other data suggesting that beetles could be less likely to attack whitebark pines in southwestern Alberta. Whitebark pines that are attacked will produce brood in similar numbers and condition as those from lodgepole pines.

Plain Language Summary

This research explored the life cycle of mountain pine beetle (MPB) in two pine species, lodgepole pine and the endangered whitebark pine, in forests at high altitude, just below the timberline. The purpose of the research was to determine whether the life cycle and survival of the MPB were significantly different in different tree species, which could have implications for how to manage MPB. Breeding pairs of MPB were introduced into freshly cut bolts of pine in the laboratory and allowed to reproduce, with the new generation developing to adulthood. There was no difference in MPB life cycle or survival between the two species of pine. Although this experiment did not capture how beetles choose which pine to live in, data suggest that beetles might be less likely to attack whitebark pines than lodgepole pines in southwestern Alberta. However, when MPB do attack whitebark pines, the beetles produce brood in similar numbers and condition as those produced in lodgepole pines. From a MPB management perspective, infested whitebark and lodgepole pines can be treated the same way.

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