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The comparative prevalence and demographic impact of two pathogens in swarming Ips typographus adults: a quantitative analysis of long term trapping data

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• Adult Ips typographus were collected using pheromone traps at a locality in the eastern part of Austria between 1995 and 2004. The occurrence of two pathogens, Gregarina typographi and Chytridiopsis typographi, was determined throughout the period of beetle swarming activities. Weekly and annual data sets were then analysed by smoothing statistical techniques and epidemiological models.

• The pathogens spread differently within the beetle population with respect to their biological characteristics: infectious forms of C. typographi were immediately available after their development in the insect's gut, but not those of G. typographi.

• Both of the pathogens had a low prevalence in swarming beetles, especially C. typographi, and there was no evidence of a between-year or within-year epidemiological process. Conversely, it was shown that G. typographi has a positive effect on the rate of increase of trapped beetles.

• Fitting a nonlinear model to the data suggested that: (i) this was due to a higher catch ability of beetles infected with G. typographi than of healthy beetles; (ii) when this effect is taken into account, G. typographi induces a specific within-year low mortality in beetle populations; and (iii) beetle populations increase naturally within a year, despite their infection by both pathogens. No clear effect of C. typographi was detected in the trapped data set when the prevalence of this species was high in beetle populations collected from trees.

• It is hypothesized that both pathogens induce different behavioural effects on their host, resulting in: (i) favouring the trapping of G. typographi-infected beetles and (ii) hindering the capture of C. typographi-infected individuals. This could be the result of both of the pathogens having an opposite effect on the flight abilities of beetles and/or on the beetles' response to the aggregation pheromones used in the traps.

Keywords: Bark beetles; Chytridiopsis typographi; Gregarina typographi; SIR model; entomopathogens; pheromone traps; population dynamics

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2010

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