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Geographic variation in winter freezing susceptibility in the eggs of the European pine sawfly (Neodiprion sertifer)

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1 The European pine sawfly, Neodiprion sertifer (Geoffroy) (Hymenoptera, Diprionidae), frequently defoliates Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests in northern Europe. It overwinters as an egg. It has been proposed that the high egg mortality caused by low winter temperatures limits the occurrence of outbreaks to the southern part of Fennoscandia.

2 In this study, variation in freezing avoidance by egg supercooling between four Finnish populations (originating between latitudes 60°N and 69°N) of N. sertifer was tested by differential thermal analysis. Offspring of 20 females within each population were selected for the study. The freezing avoidance of parasitized eggs was also examined.

3 The northernmost Inari population was found to be the cold hardiest, and the southernmost (Hanko) was the least hardy population. The within-population variation between females was greatest in the population from Inari, and the next greatest in the one from Hanko. The inland populations in Eastern Finland had the smallest within-population variation in freezing avoidance.

4 The high variation in freezing avoidance of eggs will enable N. sertifer to adapt to the predicted climate change and to spread its distribution northwards. This may also change the risk for outbreaks in this area. Parasitized eggs froze at higher temperature than healthy eggs. This observation indicates that N. sertifer may experience reduced egg parasitism in certain winter climate conditions.
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Keywords: Climate change; Neodiprion sertifer; egg mortality; freezing avoidance; parasitism; supercooling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu, PO Box 101, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland, 2: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Centre, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland and 3: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Centre, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland

Publication date: 01 May 2005

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