Reactions of mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) to diets presented with mutualist and non-mutualist fungi Chan, Adrian
The interaction between Dendroctonus ponderosae (mountain pine beetle) and an unknown black stain fungi is studied with an experiment that looked at whether beetles had a preference for entering diets that had been mixed with either black stain fungi, blue stain fungi (Grossmania claverigera), or simply malt extract agar. It was predicted that the unknown black stain fungi would be avoided by the beetles because it is not one of the fungal species that Dendroctonus ponderosae has a symbiotic relationship with. Analysis of the results with a chi square test for independence showed that the beetles showed no preference. Even though the beetles did not show a preference, it is possible that competition for subcortical resources and phloem between mutualist and non-mutualist fungal species results in a suppressed mountain pine beetle development. The potential for mountain pine beetle expansion will depend on whether the black stain fungus is more successful than the mycangial symbionts that the beetle invades with.
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