Feeding behaviour of the black pine beetle, Hylastes ater (Coleoptera: Scolytidae)
1 The feeding behaviour of Hylastes ater was investigated at 15 °C and 20 °C on a range of tree species. The role of an aggregation pheromone and the part played by olfactory cues in food selection was also investigated.
2 A distinct hierarchical preference at both 15 °C and 20 °C such that Pinus radiata > Pinus sylvestris > > Picea abies > > Rubus fruticosus=Betula pendula was shown.
3 Feeding on P. sylvestris led to the highest weight gain, closely followed by P. radiata and P. abies. Slightly elevated feeding was observed at 20 °C compared with 15 °C.
4 Reduced feeding in the presence of B. pendula suggests the possibility of an antifeedant effect and predamaged wood was found to be less nutritious, possibly due to greater plant defences.
5 The role of an aggregation pheromone was not supported. Olfactory cues enabled the detection of woody hosts, although differentiation between host was not observed.
6 These results are likely to be important in helping to design an effective integrated control approach against this pest.