Phloeophagous and predaceous insects responding to synthetic pheromones of bark beetles inhabiting white spruce stands in the Great Lakes region

Kirsten E Haberkern, Kenneth F Raffa
Journal of Chemical Ecology 2003, 29 (7): 1651-63
Tree killing and saprophytic bark beetles exert important ecological and economic roles in North American spruce forests. Chemical signaling among bark beetles, and responses by associate insects such as predators and competitors, have significant effects on the population dynamics and ecology of this community. Synthetic pheromones of primary (tree killing) and secondary (saprophytic) bark beetle species and blank controls were tested using multiple funnel and lower stem flight traps in white spruce forests in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. Six phloeophagous and four predaceous species were collected with significant attraction by the bark beetles Dryocoetes affaber, Dryocoetes autographus, and Polygraphus rufipennis, and the predatory checkered beetles (Coleoptera: Cleridae) Thanasimus dubius and Enoclerus nigrifrons. In general, trap catches to synthetic lures resembled the species composition obtained by felling trees and collecting emerging beetles in a companion study, although several species showed differing trends. Some cross attraction occurred among bark beetles and between bark beetles and predatory beetles. For example, P. rufipennis was abundant in traps baited with Dryocoetes spp. pheromones. Thanasimus dubius and E. nigrifrons were collected in significant numbers in traps baited with the pheromone of the spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis), frontalin plus a-pinene. This is a new observation for E. nigrifrons. Attraction of T. dubius to the pheromones of at least three bark beetle species in the Great Lakes region, as well as to several southern and western species, reflects its role as a habitat specialist and feeding generalist. Several other important predators and competitors commonly obtained in pine forests in this region were not obtained in these spruce stands, either in response to synthetic pheromones of spruce colonizing beetles, or in host material colonized by these beetles. Potential differences in predator prey dynamics between spruce and pine ecosystems in the Great Lakes region are discussed.

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