Oecologia (2016) 182, 1-12

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Jennifer G. Klutsch, Ahmed Najar, Jonathan A. Cale and Nadir Erbilgin (2016)
Direction of interaction between mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and resource-sharing wood-boring beetles depends on plant parasite infection
Oecologia 182 (1), 1-12
Abstract: Plant pathogens can have cascading consequences on insect herbivores, though whether they alter competition among resource-sharing insect herbivores is unknown. We experimentally tested whether the infection of a plant pathogen, the parasitic plant dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum), on jack pine (Pinus banksiana) altered the competitive interactions among two groups of beetles sharing the same resources: wood-boring beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) and the invasive mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). We were particularly interested in identifying potential mechanisms governing the direction of interactions (from competition to facilitation) between the two beetle groups. At the lowest and highest disease severity, wood-boring beetles increased their consumption rate relative to feeding levels at moderate severity. The performance (brood production and feeding) of mountain pine beetle was negatively associated with wood-boring beetle feeding and disease severity when they were reared separately. However, when both wood-boring beetles and high severity of plant pathogen infection occurred together, mountain pine beetle escaped from competition and improved its performance (increased brood production and feeding). Species-specific responses to changes in tree defense compounds and quality of resources (available phloem) were likely mechanisms driving this change of interactions between the two beetle groups. This is the first study demonstrating that a parasitic plant can be an important force in mediating competition among resource-sharing subcortical insect herbivores.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Nadir Erbilgin

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
environment - cropping system/rotation

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Dendroctonus ponderosae
Arceuthobium americanum (weed)