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Temperature-manipulated dynamics and phenology of Mindarus abietinus (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in commercial Christmas tree plantations in Québec, Canada

  • Jean-François Doherty (a1), Jean-Frédéric Guay (a1) and Conrad Cloutier (a1)

Abstract

The balsam twig aphid Mindarus abietinus Koch (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is a major pest of economic importance for the Christmas tree industry. Global warming during the 21st century could potentially increase local population densities and reinforce the pest status of this aphid in commercial fir (Abies Miller; Pinaceae) plantations in Québec, Canada. During this study, we tested the effects of a warmer environment on colony growth rates of M. abietinus and aphid morph composition during the second generation of its cycle, which is key to colony size growth and potential damage to Christmas trees. We monitored M. abietinus populations on two host fir species and one host fir variety, in order to understand the early season dynamics of this aphid and its host tree. It was possible to distinguish the two overlapping generations of winged aphids leaving colonies, which led to observing a much higher proportion of wingless daughters, produced by the stem mother, than what had previously been reported. Colony growth rates were significantly higher in a warmer environment than in the nearby plantation, suggesting that warmer temperatures in late spring and early summer may provide the suitable conditions required for M. abietinus colonies of greater density.

Le puceron des pousses du sapin Mindarus abietinus Koch (Hemiptera : Aphididae) est un ravageur d’importance économique en plantations commerciales d’arbres de Noël. Au 21e siècle, le réchauffement climatique pourrait augmenter ses densités locales en plantation de sapin (Abies Miller ; Pinaceae) et renforcer son statut d’insecte ravageur au Québec, Canada. Nous avons testé expérimentalement les effets d’un environnement réchauffé sur la croissance des colonies de M. abietinus et le dimorphisme de progénitures de la fondatrice à la deuxième génération. Nous avons suivi les populations de M. abietinus sur trois arbres-hôtes du genre Abies, afin de mieux comprendre leurs interactions. Nous avons pu séparer les deux générations chevauchantes de pucerons ailés quittant les colonies, ce qui nous a permis d’observer une plus grande proportion de progénitures aptères de la fondatrice que dans les études antérieures. Le taux de croissance des colonies était plus élevé dans un environnement expérimental réchauffé que dans la plantation environnante, suggérant des conditions propices à des densités plus élevées de M. abietinus.

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Corresponding author

1 Corresponding author (e-mail: conrad.cloutier@bio.ulaval.ca

Footnotes

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Subject editor: Rob Johns

Footnotes

References

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