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Open AccessArticle

Improved Identification and New Records of Dendroctonus Bark Beetles Attacking Pinus contorta in the Subalpine Forest of the Southern Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA/Forest Service, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
Forests 2020, 11(6), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060656
Received: 16 May 2020 / Revised: 31 May 2020 / Accepted: 3 June 2020 / Published: 9 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Pathology and Entomology)
Research Highlights: Atypical and poorly understood attacks by Dendroctonus rufipennis (Kirby) to Pinus contorta Doug. ex Loudon were detected in the southern Rocky Mountains (SRM). The phenomenon is confirmed across all examined area. Its reproduction is described for the first time as well as the first attacks of D. adjunctus Blandf. in that host. Improved detection and diagnostics of D. rufipennis will allow a simpler, and efficient identification of the species. It will improve the detection capacity by pest detection specialists and entomologists, which will increase our understanding of the phenomena within and beyond the known range. Background and Objectives: In addition to D. ponderosae Hopk. other Dendroctonus species, sometimes together, attacked P. contorta that grew intermixed with Picea engelmannii in the SRM’ subalpine forest. The identification of these beetles was difficult. The goal was to improve the detection and identification of the species from similar Dendroctonus spp. attacking that host and to uncover biological facts about the phenomena. Materials and Methods: Dendroctonus attacking P. contorta were collected along the entire SRM, their attack signs and behavior were recorded. These characteristics were revised from those in the literature and new characters were introduced and tested. Results: The identification of Dendroctonus bark beetles attacking P. contorta in the SRM was improved using revised and new characters including attack signs, attack behavior, and adult beetle characters. An improved identification key couplet is presented to effectively distinguish D. murrayanae from D. rufipennis. Conclusions: Simplified insect identifications that are both accessible to users with different levels of expertise and are based on insect characters, their attack pattern, and signs, like the present, improve detection of insects of interest. Efficient insect detections allow a better understanding of the capabilities they have and the impact they cause to the woodland ecosystems we study, protect, and manage around the globe. View Full-Text
Keywords: non-host attack; post-epidemic; facilitation; endemic population strategies non-host attack; post-epidemic; facilitation; endemic population strategies
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Mercado, J.E. Improved Identification and New Records of Dendroctonus Bark Beetles Attacking Pinus contorta in the Subalpine Forest of the Southern Rocky Mountains. Forests 2020, 11, 656.

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