Canadian Forest Service Publications

Density dependence of egg recruitment and moth dispersal in spruce budworms. 2019. Régnière, J.; Nealis, V.G. Forests 10: 706.

Year: 2019

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39881

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.3390/f10080706

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Egg recruitment quantifies the relative importance of realized fecundity and migration rates in the population dynamics of highly mobile insects. We develop here a formal context upon which to base the measurement and interpretation of egg recruitment in population dynamics of eastern and western spruce budworms, two geographically separated species that share a very similar ecology. Under most circumstances, per capita egg recruitment rates in these budworms are higher in low-density populations and lower in high-density populations, relative to the regional mean: Low-density populations are nearly always migration sinks for gravid moths, and dense populations nearly always sources. The slope of this relationship, measured on a log scale, is negatively correlated with migration rate, and ranges between 0 and -1. The steeper the slope, the more marked net migration. Using our western spruce budworm observations, we found strong evidence of density-dependent emigration in budworms, so migration is not simply a random perturbation in the lagged, density-dependent stochastic process leading to budworm outbreaks. It is itself statistically and biologically density-dependent. Therefore, moth migration is a synchronizing factor and a spread mechanism that is essential to understanding the development and expansion of spruce budworm outbreaks at regional scales in the boreal forests of North America.