Low offspring survival in mountain pine beetle infesting the resistant Great Basin bristlecone pine

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In this study cut bolts of Great Basin bristlecone pine and two susceptible host tree species, limber (P. flexilis) and lodgepole (P. contorta) pines were infested with adult mountain pine beetles and compared offspring performance. To investigate the potential for variation in offspring performance among mountain pine beetles from different areas, we tested beetles from geographically-separated populations within and outside the current range of Great Basin bristlecone pine. Although mountain pine beetles constructed galleries and laid viable eggs in all three tree species, extremely few offspring emerged from Great Basin bristlecone pine, regardless of the beetle population. Our observed low offspring performance in Great Basin bristlecone pine corresponds with previously documented low mountain pine beetle attack preference. A low preference-low performance relationship suggests that Great Basin bristlecone pine resistance to mountain pine beetle is likely to be retained through climate-driven high-elevation mountain pine beetle outbreaks.