Acceptance and suitability of novel trees for Orthotomicus erosus, an exotic bark beetle in North America

A. J. Walter, R. C. Venette, S. A. Kells

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15 Scopus citations


To predict whether an herbivorous pest insect will establish in a new area, the potential host plants must be known. For invading bark beetles, adults must recognize and accept trees suitable for larval development. The preference-performance hypothesis predicts that adults will select host species that maximize the fitness of their offspring. We tested five species of North American conifers and one angiosperm for adult acceptance and suitability for reproduction of the Mediterranean pine engraver, Orthotomicus erosus (Wollaston). Red pine, Pinus resinosa Aiton, and white spruce, Picea glauca (Moench) Voss, were accepted by adult beetles and suitable for reproduction to the extent of adult replacement. Others, such as balsam fir, Abies balsamea (L.) Mill., eastern hemlock, Tsuga canagensis (L.) Carrière, and tamarack, Larix laricina (Du Roi) Koch, were acceptable but unsuitable. The presence of tree species that are acceptable to adults but unsuitable for reproduction may affect the ability of O. erosus to establish across North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1144
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We would like to thank S.J. Seybold at the Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service for his helpful advice on this project and for supplying beetles, T. O’Brien at the Grand Rapids Northern Research and Outreach Center, University of Minnesota for assistance in obtaining trees, and the MAES/MDA Containment Facility. Further assistance was provided by M. Eaton, A. Klein, M. Lewis, and G. Reynolds. The manuscript was improved by the critical reviews of J.C. Lee, K.F. Raffa, S.J. Seybold and an anonymous reviewer. This research was funded by the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences Global Change Fellowship to AJW and the USDA Forest Service agreement number 04-CR-11231300-065.


  • Establishment
  • Host range expansion
  • Invasion biology
  • Mediterranean pine engraver
  • Novel host association
  • Pinaceae


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