Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Natural Resources

First Advisor

Kimberly F. Walling

Abstract

Adelges tsugae Annand is a non-native invasive insect threatening the survival of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina hemlock (T. caroliniana). A. tsugae is established in over half of the total range of eastern hemlock and the entire range of Carolina hemlock. Its continued spread, establishment and associated hemlock mortality make research into biological control of A. tsugae crucial. Field surveys of predators associated with A. tsugae in the Pacific Northwest identified a strong correlation between A. tsugae abundance with Laricobius nigrinus and two species of silver fly, Leucopis argenticollis and Leucopis piniperda. Flies in the genus Leucopis are known specialist predators of adelgids and recent studies have shown a strong synchronization between the lifecycles of Leucopis spp. and A. tsugae. The purpose of this study was to test the potential establishment of Leucopis spp. at the southern and northern extent of A. tsugae infested eastern hemlock in eastern United States. In 2015 and 2016, western Leucopis spp. adults were released at two different densities into enclosed branches of A. tsugae infested T. canadensis in Tennessee and New York. A. tsugae on the branches were counted before putting on the enclosure. Four weeks after set-up, all of the enclosures were collected. The number of Leucopis spp. offspring were counted and then stored in ethanol. The number of Leucopis spp. offspring collected were positively related to adelgid density, but did not differ by the number of adult flies per enclosure. Flies collected from enclosures and from the source colony were identified as L.argenticollis and L. piniperda using DNA barcoding. These results show that Leucopis spp. from the Pacific Northwest feed and develop to the adult stage on A. tsugae in the eastern USA. They are able to tolerate environmental conditions during late spring and early summer at the southern and northern extent of the area invaded by A. tsugae in the eastern USA.

Language

en

Number of Pages

54 p.

Available for download on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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