3D X-ray analysis of the subterranean burrowing depth and pupal chamber size of Laricobius (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), a specialist predator of Adelges tsugae (Hemiptera: Adelgidae)

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Oxford University Press


The non-native hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), Adelges tsugae Annand (Hemiptera: Adelgidae), has caused a significant decline of eastern hemlock, Tsuga canadensis L. (Pinales: Pinaceae), and Carolina hemlock, Tsuga caroliniana Engelmann (Pinales: Pinaceae), in eastern North America. Biological control of HWA has focused on the use of 2 Laricobius spp. (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), natural predators of HWA, which require arboreal and subterranean life phases to complete their development. In its subterranean phase, Laricobius spp. are subject to abiotic factors including soil compaction or soil-applied insecticides used to protect hemlock from HWA. This study used 3D X-ray microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) to identify the depth at which Laricobius spp. burrows during its subterranean lifecycle, characterize pupal chamber volume, and determine whether soil compaction had a significant effect on these variables. The mean burrowing depth in the soil of individuals was 27.0 mm ± 14.8 (SD) and 11.4 mm ± 11.8 (SD) at compaction levels of 0.36 and 0.54 g/ cm3, respectively. The mean pupal chamber volume was 11.15 mm3 ± 2.8 (SD) and 7.65 mm3 ± 3.5 (SD) in soil compacted at 0.36 and 0.54 g/cm3, respectively. These data show that soil compaction influences burrowing depth and pupal chamber size for Laricobius spp.This information will help us better identify the effect of soil-applied insecticide residues on estivating Laricobius spp. and soil-applied insecticide residues in the field. Additionally, these results demonstrate the utility of 3D micro-CT in assessing subterranean insect activity in future studies.



Entomology, Adelges tsugae, Derodontidae, biological control, X-ray imaging, micro-CT