White pine blister rust severity and selection of individual whitebark pine by the mountain pine beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae)

Diana L. Six, Joel Adams

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    We investigated whether white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) (J.C. Fischer in Rabenh.) severity, tree diameter at breast height (DBH), bark and phloem thickness, and sapwood moisture content influence the preference of the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) for individual trees of whitebark (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) and lodgepole pine (P. contorta Loud.). We measured these variables at 5 sites in Montana and Idaho and found a significant relationship between blister rust severity and attack of trees by D. ponderosae, with trees exhibiting greater blister rust severity being more likely to be attacked by the beetle. Sapwood moisture content was negatively correlated (P = 0.0004) with blister rust severity indicating that as severity increases there is an increasingly negative effect on water relations within the tree. Sapwood moisture content was significantly lower in P. albicaulis than in P. contorta at sites with beetle activity suggesting that there may be an interaction between blister rust severity and drought stress that, in turn, may affect beetle preference. DBH and bark and phloem thickness did not appear to influence beetle preference for individual trees. As blister rust spreads in P. albicaulis stands across the western U.S., this may translate to increasing levels of beetle-caused mortality in these areas.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)345-353
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Entomological Science
    Volume42
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 2007

    Keywords

    • Bark beetle
    • Cronartium ribicola
    • Dendroctonus ponderosae
    • Pinus albicaulis

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