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Invasion spread of Operophtera brumata in northeastern United States and hybridization with O. bruceata

Elkinton, Joseph S., Liebhold, Andrew, Boettner, George H., Sremac, Marinko
Biological invasions 2014 v.16 no.11 pp. 2263-2272
Operophtera brumata, defoliation, hybridization, pheromone traps, regression analysis, surveys, United States
We used five methods to estimate the rate of spread of the winter moth, Operophtera brumata L., a European Lepidoptera, invading the northeastern USA and occasionally hybridizing with the closely related O. bruceata. These two species utilize the same sex attractant and pheromone traps capture both species. We estimated spread based on the ratio of the two species captured in pheromone-baited traps. Population boundaries were derived from captures in a grid of traps and spread was estimated as 6.6 km/year based on displacement of population boundaries between 2005 and 2008. Radial spread rate was also estimated as 6.9 km/year from the displacement of boundaries using logistic regression of trap captures along a single east–west transect of traps deployed yearly from 2007 to 2011. We also estimated the rate of spread from the expansion of defoliation mapped during aerial surveys. Based on the displacement of defoliation boundaries from 2005 to 2008, spread rate was estimated as 6.0 km/year. Based on the year of first defoliation, spread was estimated as 4.8 km/year and regression of the square-root of the cumulative area/π versus time yielded an estimate of 4.7 km/year. All five estimates were similar, and differences reflect the nuances of the data from which they were derived. We discuss here how the occasional hybridization with O. bruceata may be either retarding or enhancing O. brumata spread.