Canadian Forest Service Publications

Pheromone communication, behavior, and ecology in the North American Choristoneura genus. 2016. Silk, P.J.; Eveleigh, E.S. Pages 265-275 in J.D. Allison and R.T. Cardé (editors). University of California Press, Oakland, CA, USA.

Year: 2016

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39620

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

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Plain Language Summary

In this book chapter, we update reviews of pheromone communication in the Choristoneura, with particular emphasis on conifer feeders, from the perspective of (a) the systematics, distribution, and reproductive isolation, (b) the elucidation and comparison of sex pheromone chemistry, biochemistry, and physiology, and (c) the ecology of representative species in this group.

Members of the conifer-feeding budworms are found in all conifer-forested regions of North America. The distribution of most species is reasonably well established, with some species being sympatric and synchronic in parts of their range, suggesting that distinct pheromone communication channels are an important component in premating (prezygotic) isolation. Pheromone differences may, in fact, be an important factor in species isolation and in defining phylogenetic relationships in this complex group of species.

The spruce budworm, the most extensive in range of all the budworms, exhibits population oscillations of very large amplitudes, with episodes of extremely high densities when defoliation and tree mortality occur over large areas, causing serious economic losses. Similarly, populations of the jackpine budworm and western budworm also periodically increase to high densities, resulting in extensive host tree damage. During outbreaks of all three species, foliage-protection operations have been implemented. The study of this genus and specifically these species are, therefore, of considerable importance.