Canadian Forest Service Publications

Displacement of Tetropium cinnamopterum (Kirby) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) by its invasive congener, the brown spruce longhorn beetle, Tetropium fuscum (Fabricius). 2016. Dearborn, K.W.; Heard, S.B.; Sweeney, J.; Pureswaran, D.S. Environmental Entomology 45: 848-854.

Year: 2016

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36884

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvw045

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We examined the native community of insects interacting with an invasive species, Tetropium fuscum (F.) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), in its new range to explore reasons for the invader’s relatively slow spread. Tetropium fuscum is a European spruce borer established in Nova Scotia since at least 1990, but it has spread only about 125 km from its site of introduction. We compared the densities of Tetropium spp., their known parasitoids, and the community of wood-boring insects at sites located within the invasion zone in Nova Scotia versus well outside this zone, in New Brunswick, Canada. Using red spruce trees stressed by girdling or felling, we tested whether: 1) T. fuscum had altered the native wood-boring community; 2) T. fuscum displaced a native congener, Tetropium cinnamopterum (Kirby); and 3) parasitism rates of Tetropium spp. differed between the invaded and noninvaded zones. Both Tetropium spp. and their parasitoid wasps emerged exclusively from felled trees as opposed to girdled trees. We found no difference in community diversity inside versus outside the invasion zone. The combined densities of both Tetropium spp. and their overall parasitism rates also did not differ between zones, but T. cinnamopterum density was significantly greater outside the invasion zone, suggesting T. fuscum may displace the native congener where they are sympatric. Our results suggest that the native and invasive Tetropium spp. act as a single functional species in the invasion zone. We speculate that natural control agents (predators, parasitoids, and competitors) might be limiting the rate of spread of T. fuscum.

Plain Language Summary

In this study, the researchers showed that two species of brown spruce longhorn beetle (one native and one exotic) exhibit similar behaviour patterns, but that ultimately the exotic species could dominate over its native counterpart.

Thankfully, natural control agents such as predators and parasitoids are efficient at limiting the speed at which the brown spruce longhorn beetle can spread, whether it is of native or exotic origin.

The exotic brown spruce longhorn beetle is an invasive forest pest from Europe that established itself in Nova Scotia, where it infests and kills mature and weakened spruce trees. It is slowly expanding its distribution range towards the west.