Feeding preference of emerald ash borer adults on tolerant and susceptible ash foliage

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128th Annual Meeting of the Indiana Academy of Science

Conference Location

Indianapolis, IN


Emerald ash borer (EAB) has caused significant mortality of North American ash (Fraxinus spp.) since its introduction from Asia during the 1990s. While a large proportion of ash does succumb to EAB infestation, some trees are able to survive the attack. These surviving individuals still are infested by EAB and show signs of the infestation; however, some mechanism exists allowing them to tolerate attack and continue to grow vigorously. Following emergence, EAB adults spend time in ash canopies feeding on foliage during a maturation period. A choice feeding study was established comparing the preference of female:female, male:male, and female:male feeding pairs on foliage from green ash trees categorized as tolerant and susceptible to EAB attack. Tolerant and susceptible trees did not differ in diameter and both groups of trees were currently experiencing attack from EAB (evidenced by bark splits, EAB exit holes, and woodpecker activity). However, susceptible trees had significantly more crown dieback than tolerant trees. Foliage was collected from wild-grown green ash and replaced in each feeding cage every 1-3 days. Leaf area was measured before exposure to EAB adults in cages and after removal. The different feeding pair treatments (F:F, M:M, M:F) did not differ in the ratio of area of susceptible:tolerant leaf consumed; suggesting that a preferential difference did not occur between sexes or mating pairs. However, adult pairs fed significantly more on susceptible leaves than tolerant leaves. Even though female pairs were significantly heavier than male pairs, total leaf area consumed was not significantly different between the two groups. Previous research has demonstrated a feeding preference between host species by EAB adults. The identification and subsequent selection of one host species over another is likely related to the host volatile profile. Variation within green ash volatile profiles may cause similar choices in EAB adults and assist in identifying suitable hosts for attack.


Agrilus planipennis, emerald ash borer


Biology | Entomology | Forest Biology | Forest Management

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