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Population studies of tree-defoliating insects in Canada: a century in review

  • R.C. Johns (a1) (a2), L. Flaherty (a2) (a3), D. Carleton (a2) (a4), S. Edwards (a2), A. Morrison (a2) (a5) and E. Owens (a2) (a5)...

Abstract

Our review highlights research during the past century focussed on the population ecology of outbreak-prone insect defoliators in Canadian forests. Based on reports from national and provincial surveys that began in the 1930s, there have been at least 106 insect defoliators reported to outbreak, most of which are native Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera (sawflies), or Coleoptera (in order of frequency from most to least). Studies comparing life-history traits of outbreak versus non-outbreak species to better understand why certain species are more outbreak-prone indicate several traits especially common among outbreak species, including egg clustering and aggregative larval feeding. There have been at least 50 time-series studies examining the spatiotemporal population behaviour of 12 major defoliator species. These studies provide evidence for both regular periodicity and spatial synchrony of outbreaks for most major species. Life-table studies seeking to understand the agents causing populations to fluctuate have been carried out for at least seven outbreak species, with the majority identifying natural enemies (usually parasitoids) as the major driver of outbreak collapse. Our review concludes with several case studies highlighting the impact and historical underpinnings of population studies for major defoliator species and a discussion of potential avenues for future research.

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Corresponding author

1 Corresponding author (e-mail: rob.johns@canada.ca).

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Subject editor: René Alfaro

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References

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The Canadian Entomologist
  • ISSN: 0008-347X
  • EISSN: 1918-3240
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-entomologist
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