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Prepupal diapause and instar IV developmental rates of the spruce beetle, Dendroctonus rufipennis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae)




Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Rocky Mountain Research Station


Journal of Insect Physiology. 57(10): 1347-1357.


The spruce beetle, Dendroctonus rufipennis (Kirby), is an important mortality agent of native spruces throughout North America. The life-cycle duration of this species varies from 1 to 3 years depending temperature. The univoltine cycle (one generation per year) is thought to maximize outbreak risk and accelerate host mortality in established outbreaks. Prepupal diapause is associated with the semivoltine cycle (one generation per 2 years) and we investigated thermal conditions that result in diapause induction. Preliminary experiments used respirometry in an attempt to distinguish the diapause state of experimental insects but the technique was apparently confounded by low respiration before and during pupation, regardless of diapause status. Therefore, diapause induction was deduced using developmental delays. The observed developmental response was not a "switch", with developmental delay either present or absent, but instead varied continuously. We found that temperatures <15 C from instar III through mid-instar IV were associated with developmental delays beyond that expected from cool temperatures. Moreover, the duration of exposure to cool temperatures was important in determining the degree of developmental delay. Small, if any, delays were observed if the cumulative exposure to <15 C was <20 d whereas >40 d cumulative exposure was associated with distinct developmental suppression. Intermediate exposure to cool temperatures resulted in minor developmental delays. We used our results to parameterize a maximum likelihood estimation model of temperature-dependent instar IV developmental rates, including the effect of diapause. This model can be included as part of a spruce beetle phenology model for predicting population dynamics.


Hansen, E. Matthew; Bentz, Barbara J.; Powell, James A.; Gray, David R.; Vandygriff, James C. 2011. Prepupal diapause and instar IV developmental rates of the spruce beetle, Dendroctonus rufipennis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae). Journal of Insect Physiology. 57(10): 1347-1357.

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