Canadian Forest Service Publications
Host Tree Species Affects Spruce Budworm Winter Survival. 2020. Berthiaume, R.; Hébert, C.: Charest, M.; Dupont, A.; Bauce, E. Environmental Entomology, 49: 496–501
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 40090
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With current trends in global warming, it has been suggested that spruce budworm outbreaks may spread to northern parts of the boreal forest. However, the major constraints for a northward expansion are the availability of suitable host trees and the insect winter survival capacity. This study aimed to determine the effect of larval feeding on balsam fir, white spruce and black spruce on various spruce budworm life history traits of both the parental and the progeny generations. Results indicated that the weight of the overwintering larval progeny and their winter survival were influenced by host tree species on which larvae of the parental generation fed. White spruce was the most suitable host for the spruce budworm, producing the heaviest pupae and the heaviest overwintering larvae while black spruce was the least suitable, producing the smallest pupae and the smallest overwintering progeny. Overwintering larvae produced by parents that fed on black spruce also suffered higher winter mortality than individuals coming from parents that fed on balsam fir or white spruce. With current trends in global warming, spruce budworm is expected to expand its range to northern boreal forests where black spruce is the dominant tree species. Such northern range expansion might not result in outbreaks if low offspring winter survival on black spruce persist.