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Title: Predation and bark beetle dynamics

Author: Reeve, John D.;

Date: 1997

Source: Oecologia 112: 48-54

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Bark beetle populations may undergo dramatic fluctuations and are often important pests in coniferous forests.Their dynamics are thought to be primarily driven by factors affecting the resistance of the host tree to attack, i.e., bottom-up forces, while natural enemies are usually assigned a minor role in these systems.I present behavioral experiments that suggest that the clerid beetle Thanasimus dubius may be an important source of mortality for the bark beetle Dendroctonus frontalis during attack of the host tree, and determine the nature of the functional response of T. dubius under conditions close to natural.I also examine the numerical response to T. dubius to large-scale fluctuations in D. frontalis density, and the relationship between bark beetle population trends and predator density, and find that beetle populations tend to decline when predator densities are high.Combined with the effects of clerid larvae on bark beetle broods, these results suggest that top-down forces generated by natural enemies could also be an important component of bark beetle dynamics.The implications of these results for bark beetle dynamics are discussed in relation to the prolonged life-cycle of clerid beetles.

Keywords: scolytidae, cleridae, predation, ratio-dependence

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Reeve, John D. 1997. Predation and bark beetle dynamics. Oecologia 112: 48-54


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