Abstract: Are bark beetle outbreaks less synchronous than forest Lepidoptera outbreaks?

Oecologia (2005) 146: 365-372.


Comparisons of intraspecific spatial synchrony across multiple epidemic insect species can be useful for generating hypotheses about major determinants of population patterns at larger scales. The present study compares patterns of spatial synchrony in outbreaks of six epidemic bark beetle species in North America and Europe. Spatial synchrony among populations of the Eurasian spruce bark beetle Ips typographus was significantly higher than for the other bark beetle species. The spatial synchrony observed in epidemic bark beetles was also compared with previously published patterns of synchrony in outbreaks of defoliating forest Lepidoptera, revealing a marked difference between these two major insect groups. The bark beetles exhibited a generally lower degree of spatial synchrony than the Lepidoptera, possibly because bark beetles are synchronized by different weather variables that are acting on a smaller scale than those affecting the Lepidoptera, or because inherent differences in their dynamics leads to more cyclic oscillations and more synchronous spatial dynamics in the Lepidoptera.

Keywords: Spatial synchrony, Scolytidae, moth, weather, population dynamics