Predators associated with the hemlock woolly adelgid (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) in the Pacific Northwest.
The hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae Annand (Hemiptera: Adelgidae), is causing widespread mortality of eastern hemlock, Tsuga canadensis L. Carrière, in the eastern United States. In western North America, feeding by A. tsugae results in negligible damage to western hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sargent. Host tolerance and presence of endemic predators may be contributing to the relatively low levels of injury to T. heterophylla caused by A. tsugae. Field surveys of the predator community associated with A. tsugae infestations on 116 T. heterophylla at 16 sites in Oregon and Washington were conducted every 4-6 wk from March 2005 through November 2006. Fourteen uninfested T. heterophylla were also surveyed across 5 of the 16 sites. Each sample tree was assigned an A. tsugae population score ranging from 0 to 3. Predators collected from A. tsugae-infested T. heterophylla represent 55 species in 14 families, listed in order of abundance: Derodontidae, Chamaemyiidae, Hemerobiidae, Coccinellidae, Cantharidae, Reduviidae, Miridae, Syrphidae, Chrysopidae, Coniopterygidae, Staphylinidae, Anthocoridae, Nabidae, and Raphidiidae. Laricobius nigrinus Fender (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), Leucopis argenticollis Zetterstedt (Diptera: Chamaemyiidae), and Leucopis atrifacies (Aldrich) (Chamaemyiidae) were the most abundant predators; together comprising 59% of predator specimens recovered. Relationships among predators and A. tsugae were determined through community structure analysis. The abundances of Laricobius spp. larvae, L. nigrinus adults, Leucopis spp. larvae, and L. argenticollis adults were found to be positively correlated to A. tsugae population score. Predators were most abundant when the two generations of A. tsugae eggs were present. L. argenticollis and L. atrifacies were reared on A. tsugae in the laboratory, and host records show them to feed exclusively on Adelgidae.