Canadian Forest Service Publications

Extreme cold weather causes the collapse of a population of Lambdina fiscellaria (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) in the Laurentian Mountains of Québec, Canada. Delisle, J.; Bernier-Cardou, M.; Labrecque, A. 2019. Can. Entomol. 151: 311-328.

Year: 2019

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39686

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.4039/tce.2019.8

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In 2012, an unexpected outbreak of Lambdina fiscellaria (Guenée) (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) occurred in the Laurentian Mountains, Québec, Canada, known for its harsh climate. We wondered whether the eggs were sufficiently cold hardy to survive there and, if so, how long this outbreak would last. Therefore, we assessed the capacity of the eggs to supercool, to tolerate short exposures to low sub-zero temperatures, or to successfully overwinter in the field. The same assays were performed with eggs from the island of Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The mean supercooling point of eggs from the two populations increased from −40.2 °C in mid-February to −33.7 °C in mid-May. These eggs may also die at sub-zero temperatures above their supercooling point, depending on exposure durations. In the fall of 2012 when eggs were put out in the field, < 10% survived in the Laurentian Mountains, whereas > 70% survived further south. In the spring of 2013, no parasitism was detected in the population. However, the two cold waves that swept across the Laurentian Mountains the preceding winter were likely responsible for the collapse of the population. This study demonstrates that L. fiscellaria eggs may succumb to sub-zero temperatures above their supercooling point under field conditions.