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Attack rates of Sirex noctilio and patterns of pine tree defenses and mortality in northern Patagonia

Martinson, S.J., Fernádez Ajó, A.A., Martínez, A.S., Krivak-Tetley, F.E., Villacide, J.M., Ayres, M.P., Corley, J.C.
Bulletin of entomological research 2019 v.109 no.2 pp. 141-149
Pinus contorta, Pinus ponderosa, Sirex noctilio, mixed forests, mortality, ovipositor, plant-insect relations, plantations, tree trunk, trees, Argentina, North America
Accidental and intentional global movement of species has increased the frequency of novel plant–insect interactions. In Patagonia, the European woodwasp, Sirex noctilio, has invaded commercial plantations of North American pines. We compared the patterns of resin defenses and S. noctilio-caused mortality at two mixed-species forests near San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. We observed lower levels of resin flow and higher levels of mortality in Pinus contorta compared with Pinus ponderosa. In general, S. noctilio attacked trees with lower resin compared with neighboring trees. Resin production in P. ponderosa was not related to growth rates, but for P. contorta, slower growing trees produced less resin than faster growing conspecifics. For all infested trees, attack density and number of drills (ovipositor probes) per attack did not vary with resin production. Most attacks resulted in one or two drills. Attack rates and drills/attack were basically uniform across the bole of the tree except for a decrease in both drills/attack and attack density in the upper portion of the crown, and an increase in the attack density for the bottom 10% of the tree. Planted pines in Patagonia grow faster than their counterparts in North America, and produce less resin, consistent with the growth-differentiation balance hypothesis. Limited resin defenses may help to explain the high susceptibility of P. contorta to woodwasps in Patagonia.