Predators associated with the pine bark adelgid (Hemiptera: Adelgidae), a native insect in Appalachian forests, United States of America, in its southern range.
The pine bark adelgid, Pineus strobi (Hartig) (Hemiptera: Adelgidae), is an herbivore native to eastern North America that specialises on eastern white pine, Pinus strobus Linnaeus (Pinaceae). Little is known about P. strobi, especially in its southern range in the Appalachian Mountains, United States of America, and the composition of its predator complex has not yet been documented in this region. The current study identifies arthropod predators associated with P. strobi in Appalachian forests of Virginia based on a two-year survey. Predators were identified using morphology and DNA barcoding. Predator species include: Laricobius rubidus LeConte (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), Leucopis piniperda Malloch (Diptera: Chamaemyiidae), and Leucopis argenticollis Zetterstedt (Diptera: Chamaemyiidae), that are known adelgid specialists. Also found were predators from the families Cecidomyiidae (Diptera), Coccinellidae (Coleoptera), Chrysopidae (Neuroptera), Hemerobiidae (Neuroptera), and Syrphidae (Diptera). The Cecidomyiidae were especially diverse, with 14 different species inferred from their DNA barcodes. Knowledge of this predator complex is particularly valuable for anticipation and detection of potential interactions between native predator species and those that are being considered for the introduction for biological control of invasive adelgid pests within the southern Appalachian ecosystem.