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Forest type affects predation on gypsy moth pupae

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1 Predation by small mammals has previously been shown to be the largest source of mortality in low-density gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (L.), populations in established populations in north-eastern North America. Fluctuations in predation levels are critical in determining changes in population densities.

2 We compared small mammal communities and levels of predation on gypsy moth pupae among five different oak-dominated forest types along this insect's western expanding population front in Wisconsin. Comparisons of predator impact can provide critical information for predicting variation in susceptibility among forest types.

3 The results indicated that small mammals caused more mortality than did invertebrates.

4 Both abundance of Peromyscus sp. predators and predation levels were lower in urban and xeric forest types than in mesic sites.

5 These results suggest that, because predation pressures will probably be greater in the mesic sites, gypsy moths may be less likely to develop outbreaks in these habitats, and that defoliation will probably be more frequent in urban and xeric oak-dominated sites.

Keywords: Lepidoptera; Lymantria dispar; Lymantriidae; Peromyscus; predator

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Northeastern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 180 Canfield Street, Morgantown, WV 26505, U.S.A., 2: Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin − Madison, 345 Russell Laboratories, 1630 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, U.S.A. and 3: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI 53707-7921, U.S.A.

Publication date: August 1, 2005


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