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Temporal variations in abiotic conditions exert little influence on diurnal activity of late-instar spruce budworm larvae on balsam fir

  • S.E. Holmes (a1), E.G. Kettela (a1), P.C. Nigam (a2), S.B. Heard (a3) and R.C. Johns (a4)...

Abstract

Spruce budworm, Choristoneurafumiferana (Clemens) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), larvae can cause extensive defoliation in balsam fir (Abies balsamea [Linnaeus] Miller) and exhibit high temporal and spatial variability in individual behaviour. We gathered field data to determine the influence of daily and hourly variation in abiotic conditions on daytime activity patterns of late-instar budworm larvae on balsam fir. In both years of our study, less than 10% of larvae were observed feeding during the daytime. Most larvae observed were either resting, spinning silk, or roaming, although the proportion of individuals engaged in each activity varied between years, with more larvae in the first year roaming (48%) and in the second year either resting (38%) or spinning silk (42%). Daily and hourly variation in abiotic conditions had a limited influence on activity patterns. Our results indicate that in nature, mid- to late-instar budworm larvae maintain fairly consistent activity patterns across a wide range of abiotic conditions. We suggest that site-specific conditions such as variation in host-plant quality and/or budworm population density may be more important than weather in determining the relative frequencies of different larval activities in space and time.

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Corresponding author

1Corresponding author (e-mail: rjohns@nrcan.gc.ca).

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Temporal variations in abiotic conditions exert little influence on diurnal activity of late-instar spruce budworm larvae on balsam fir

  • S.E. Holmes (a1), E.G. Kettela (a1), P.C. Nigam (a2), S.B. Heard (a3) and R.C. Johns (a4)...

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