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Larch- and pine-feeding host races of the Larch Bud Moth (Zeiraphera diniana) have cyclic and synchronous population fluctuations

Auteurs : Dormont (Laurent), Choquet (Remi), Baltensweiler (Werner) et Roques (Alain)

Année de publication : 2006
Publication : Oikos
Volume : 115
Fascicule : 2
Pagination : 299-307

Résumé :

Population cycles of many forest-defoliating insects often show synchronous fluctuations at both intra-specific (spatial synchrony) and inter-specific levels. However, population dynamics of different host-associated biotypes of the same species, such as those of the larch budmoth (LBM), Zeiraphera diniana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), have never been compared. This species causes extensive defoliation of larch forests every 8 to 9 years in the Alps, but it consists of two genetically-differentiated host races, the first one developing on European larch, Larix decidua, and the other one developing on Swiss stone pine, Pinus cembra. The dynamics of Zeiraphera populations have been extensively studied on larch, whereas little is known about larval density and possible population fluctuations on sympatric pines. A larval census on Swiss stone pine was conducted in the Swiss Alps intermittently between 1958 to 2004 and in the French Alps from 1992 to 2004. Population density of Zeiraphera on pine varied up to 5000-fold and showed periodic oscillations, with five peaks in Switzerland and one in France. Because the feeding activity of the pine race is restricted to the elongating shoot of the current year, no conspicuous defoliation of pine trees was noted during years of high larval densities. Zeiraphera populations on pine oscillated in significant synchrony with larch-associated populations, and peak densities were observed either the same year or shifted by [plus or minus] one year. Our results did not allow any explanation for cyclic fluctuations of LBM on pine, but the synchrony with the larch race's cycle suggests that studies on genetics as well as on parasitism should be intensified