Effect of the Nematode Contortylenchus brevicomi on Gallery Construction and Fecundity of the Southern Pine Beetle

A. E. MacGuidwin, G. C. Smart, Jr., R. C. Wilkinson, G. E. Allen


Field-collected Dendroctonus frontalis were reared in a controlled environment. Male-female beetle pairs retrieved from galleries 1, 2, or 5 wk after introduction into pine bolts were examined for nematode parasites. Data were obtained for each pair on gallery length, egg niche construction, egg viability, and progeny survival. In a separate study, beetle pairs were reared under laboratory conditions for 10 wk. The number of emerged adult progeny of each pair was recorded. Contortylenchus brevicomi, a nematode parasite, was found in 25% of all beetles that established galleries. After 2 and 3 wk, female beetles infected with the nematode had produced fewer eggs and shorter galleries than did uninfected females. Uninfected females mated with nematode-infected males showed similar trends, although the differences in the 2- and 3-wk tests were not significant. Progeny survival or egg viability was not affected by nematode parasitism of either parent beetle. Unikaryon minutum, a microsporidian parasite found in 65% of all colonizing beetles, had no effect on measured variables. The lower fecundity of beetles parasitized by C. brevicomi continued throughout the insect's reproductive cycle. After 10 wk, nematode-infected beetle pairs produced fewer emerged adult progeny than did uninfected pairs. Key Words: Dendroctonus frontalis, population dynamics, nematode-insect interaction.

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