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The influence of understory nectar resources on parasitism of the spruce budworm Choristoneura fumiferana in the field

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1 Nectar provided by flowering plants has been suggested as an important factor enhancing parasitism rates of herbivorous insects. Artificial nectar has been shown to increase parasitoid longevity and fecundity in laboratory studies.

2 We studied the influence of understory nectar on parasitism of the spruce budworm Choristoneura fumiferana in a field experiment in which we either removed understory flowering herbs or sprayed a sucrose solution on the understory vegetation in 0.25 ha quadrats.

3 Cohorts of laboratory-reared second instars were transferred the field to evaluate parasitism in the quadrats. The larvae were harvested as fifth instars and reared for parasitoids.

4 Parasitoids of early instars caused greater mortality in the supplemental sucrose treatment than in the vegetation-removal treatment or the control. Parasitoids of older larvae did not respond to the treatments. Larger-scale treatments may be necessary to elicit a response by the larger parasitoids that attack older larvae.
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Keywords: Artificial nectar; Choristoneura fumiferana; Elachertus cacoeciae; boreal forest; parasitoids; spruce budworm

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Groupe de Recherche en Écologie forestière, Université du Québec à Montréal, CP 8888, succ. Centre-ville, Montréal (Québec), H3C 3P8 Canada 2: Department of Zoology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, U.S.A. and

Publication date: 1999-02-01

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