Lepidoptera pests of Canadian forests and their Microgastrinae parasitoids

According to the website of Natural Resources Canada (NRC), the Forest Pest Management Forum (FPMF) is the largest and most significant gathering of forest pest management experts, managers and practitioners in Canada. The objective is to share information on current and future pest conditions, pest control operations, environmental issues and the development of alternatives to chemical insecticides, as well as to discuss new technology and the latest research findings. Proceedings of past meetings (the 57th annual meeting will be on December 2014) can be freely downloaded at http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/pestforum. In those proceedings the interested reader can follow the evolution of different pest problems that Canadian forests have experienced over the years.

Based on information from NRC and FPMF, below is a list of 119 species and 20 families of Lepidoptera caterpillars that have been considered at some point as pests of Canadian forests. Half of those species belong to just two families: Geometridae (27%) and Tortricidaae (26%), and seven families account for three quarters of the species (see figure below). While a few are considered major pests, most are of low significance and only cause minor affectations -either because the damage is too sporadic, or because they are only important at local level.

Families of Lepidoptera pests of Canadian Forests. Modified from the Proceedings of the Forest Pest Management Forum (http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/pestforum).

The proceedings of the FPMF last meetings (2005-present) mention at least 51 of those 119 species (43% of the total). Species are listed below in alphabetical order by their scientific names (with the common names and families of Lepidoptera they belong to, also provided). Species preceded by an asterisk (*) are those mentioned in the Pest Forum meetings from 2005 until present.

1 (*)  Acleris gloverana (Walsingham)  Western blackheaded budworm  Tortricidae
2 (*)  Acleris variana (Fernie)  Eastern blackheaded budworm  Tortricidae
3 Acossus centerensis [Lint.]  Poplar carpenterworm  Cossidae
4 (*)  Acronicta americana (Harr.)  American Dagger Moth  Noctuidae
5 Acossus populi (Walker)  Aspen carpenterworm  Cossidae
6 (*)  Alsophila pometaria [Harris]  Fall cankerworm  Geometridae
7 (*)  Archips cerasivorana (Fitch)  Uglynest caterpillar  Tortricidae
8 Archips negundana (Dyar)  Larger boxelder leafroller  Tortricidae
9 (*)  Argyresthia cupressella Walshingham  Cypress tip moth  Yponomeutidae
10 (*)  Argyresthia thuiella (Packard)  Arborvitae leafminer  Yponomeutidae
11 Argyrotaenia citrana (Fernie)  Orange tortrix  Tortricidae
12 Argyrotaenia juglandana (Fern.)  Hickory Leafroller  Tortricidae
13 (*)  Bucculatrix canadensisella Chambers  Birch skeletonizer  Bucculatrigidae
14 Callophrys eryphon (Boisduval)  Western pine elfin  Lycaenidae
15 Callophrys grynea barryi (Johnson)  Barry’s hairstreak  Lycaenidae
16 Callophrys grynea rosneri (Johnson)  Rosner’s hairstreak  Lycaenidae
17 (*)  Caloptilia fraxinella (Ely)  Ash leaf cone roller  Gracillariidae
18 Caloptilia syringella (Fabricius)  Lilac leafminer  Gracillariidae
19 Cameraria aceriella (Clemens)  Maple leafblotch miner  Gracillariidae
20 (*)  Caripeta divisata Walker  Gray spruce looper  Geometridae
21 Chionodes continuella (Zeller)  Gelechiid moth  Gelechiidae
22 (*)  Choristoneura biennis Freeman  Two-year-cycle budworm  Tortricidae
23 (*)  Choristoneura conflictana (Walker)  Large aspen tortrix  Tortricidae
24 (*)  Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens)  Spruce budworm  Tortricidae
25 (*)  Choristoneura occidentalis (Freeman)  Western spruce budworm  Tortricidae
26 (*)  Choristoneura pinus Freeman  Jack pine budworm  Tortricidae
27 (*)  Choristoneura rosaceana (Harr.)  Oblique banded leafroller  Tortricidae
28 Cladara limitaria (Walker)  Yellowlined forest looper  Geometridae
29 Clepsis persicana (Fitch)  Whitetriangle leafroller  Tortricidae
30 (*)  Coleophora laricella (Hubner)  Larch casebearer  Coleophoridae
31 (*)  Coleophora serratella (Linnaeus)  Birch casebearer  Coleophoridae
32 Coleotechnites piceaella (Kearfott)  Orange spruce needleminer  Gelechiidae
33 Coleotechnites thujaella (Kft)  Brown cedar leafminer  Gelechiidae
34 (*)  Croesia semipurpurana (Kraft)  Oak leafshredder  Tortricidae
35 Cydia strobilella Linnaeus  Spruce seed moth  Tortricidae
36 Dasychira grisefacta (Dyar)  Pine tussock moth  Lymantriidae
37 Dichomeris marginella (Fabricius)  Juniper webworm  Gelechiidae
38 Dioryctria abietivorella (Grote)  Fir coneworm  Pyralidae
39 Dioryctria pseudotsugella Munroe  Dioryctria moth  Pyralidae
40 Dioryctria reniculelloides Mutuura and Munroe  Spruce coneworm  Pyralidae
41 Ditula angustiorana (Haworth)  Red-barred tortrix  Tortricidae
42 Dolichomia thymetusalis (Walker)  Spruce needleworm, Paler dolichomia moth  Pyralidae
43 (*)  Dryocampa rubicunda (Fabricius)  Greenstriped mapleworm  Saturniidae
44 Ectropis crepuscularia (Denis and Schiffermuller)  Saddleback looper  Geometridae
45 (*)  Enargia decolor (Walker)  Aspen twoleaf tier  Noctuidae
46 (*)  Ennomos subsignaria (Hbn.)  Elm Spanworm  Geometridae
47 Enypia packardata (Taylor)  Packard’s gridle moth  Geometridae
48 Epinotia radicana (Heinr.)  Spruce tip moth; redstriped needleworm  Tortricidae
49 (*)  Epinotia solandriana (Linnaeus)  Birch-aspen leafroller  Tortricidae
50 Epinotia subviridis Heinrich  Cypress leaftier  Tortricidae
51 Epirrita autumnata (Harrison)  Green velvet looper  Geometridae
52 Epirrita pulchraria (Taylor)  Whitelined looper  Geometridae
53 (*)  Erranis tiliaria Harris  Linden looper  Geometridae
54 Eucosma gloriola Heinrich  Eastern pine shoot borer  Tortricidae
55 Eupithecia annulata (Hulst)  Larch pug moth  Geometridae
56 Eupithecia lariciata (Frey.)  Fir needle inchworm  Geometridae
57 Eupithecia palpata Pack.  Small pine looper  Geometridae
58 Eurois occulta (Linnaeus)  Great brocade  Noctuidae
59 (*)  Exotelia pinifoliella (Cham.)  Pine Needleminer  Gelechiidae
60 Feralia jocosa (Gn.)  Redlined conifer caterpillar  Noctuidae
61 Hemithea aestivaria (Hubner)  Common emerald  Geometridae
62 Heterocampa guttivitta Walker  Saddled prominent  Notodontidae
63 Hyalophora euryalis (Walker)  Ceanothus silk moth  Saturniidae
64 (*)  Hydria pruneverata (Ferguson)  Cherryscallopshell moth  Geometridae
65 Hypagyrtis piniata (Pack.)  Pine measuringworm moth  Geometridae
66 (*)  Hyphantria cunea (Drury)  Fall webworm  Arctiidae
67 (*)  Iridopsis ephyraria (Wlk.)  Pale winged grey  Geometridae
68 Itame pustularia (Guen.)  Lesser maple spanworm  Geometridae
69 (*)  Lambdina fiscellaria fiscellaria (Guenée)  Hemlock looper  Geometridae
70 (*)  Lambdina fiscellaria lugubrosa (Hulst)  Western hemlock looper  Geometridae
71 Lambdina fiscellaria somniaria (Hulst)  Western oak looper  Geometridae
72 (*)  Leucoma salicis (L.)  Satin moth  Lymantriidae
73 Lophocampa argentata (Packard)  Silverspotted tiger moth  Arctiidae
74 (*)  Lophocampa caryae Harris, 1841  Hickory tussock moth  Arctiidae
75 (*)  Lymantria dispar (Linnaeus)  Gypsy moth  Lymantriidae
76 Macaria signaria dispuncta (Walker)  Spruce fir looper  Geometridae
77 Malacosoma californicum pluviale (Dyar)  Northern tent caterpillar  Lasiocampidae
78 (*)  Malacosoma disstria Hubner  Forest tent caterpillar  Lasiocampidae
79 Melanolophia imitata (Walker)  Greenstriped forest looper  Geometridae
80 (*)  Micrurapteryx salcifoliella (Chambers)  Willow Leaf Blotch Miner  Gracillariidae
81 Nematocampa resistaria (Herrich-Schaffer)  Filament bearer  Geometridae
82 Neoalcis californiaria (Packard)  Brownlined looper  Geometridae
83 Neophasia menapia (C. & R. Felder)  Pine white  Pieridae
84 Nepytia freemani (Munroe)  Western false hemlock looper  Geometridae
85 Nepytia phantasmaria (Strecker)  Phantom hemlock looper  Geometridae
86 Nymphalis antiopa (Linnaeus)  Mourningcloak butterfly or spiny elm caterpillar  Nymphalidae
87 (*)  Operophtera bruceata (Hulst)  Bruce spanworm  Geometridae
88 Operophtera brumata (L.)  Winter moth  Geometridae
89 (*)  Orgyia antiqua (L.)  Rusty tussock moth  Noctuidae
90 (*)  Orgyia leucostigma (J. E. Smith)  Whitemarked tussock moth  Lymantriidae
91 (*)  Orgyia pseudotsugata (McDunnough)  Douglas-fir tussock moth  Lymantriidae
92 Orthosia hibisci (Guenée)  Speckled green fruitworm  Noctuidae
93 Paleacrita vernata (Peck)  Spring cankerworm  Geometridae
94 (*)  Paraclemensia acerifoliella (Fitch)  Maple leafcutter  Incurvariidae
95 Pero morrisonaria (Hy. Edwards)  Pero moth  Geometridae
96 (*)  Petrova albicapitana (Busck)  Northern pitch twig moth/Pitch nodule maker  Tortricidae
97 Petrova metallica (Busck)  Metallic pitch blister moth  Tortricidae
98 (*)  Phyllocnistis populiella Chambers  Common Aspen Leaf Miner or Aspen Serpentine Leafmine  Gracillariidae
99 Podosesia syringae [Harr.]  Lilac borer (Ash borer)  Sesiidae
100 Prionoxystus robiniae (Peck)  Carpenterworm  Cossidae
101 (*)  Pseudexentera oregonana (Wlsm.)  Early Aspen Leafcurler/Leafroller  Tortricidae
102 (*)  Pseudosciaphila duplex (Walsingham)  Spotted aspen leaf roller  Tortricidae
103 (*)  Rhyacionia buoliana (Denis and Schiffermuller)  European pine shoot moth  Tortricidae
104 Semiothisa sexmaculata (Packard)  Green larch looper  Geometridae
105 Sesia tibialis (Harris)  Cottonwood crown borer  Sesiidae
106 (*)  Sparganothis acerivorana MacKay  Maple leafroller  Tortricidae
107 (*)  Sparganothis pettitana (Rob.)  Maple leafroller  Tortricidae
108 (*)  Symmerista canicosta Franc.  Redhumped Oakworm  Notodontidae
109 (*)  Symmerista leucitys (Franclemont)  Orangehumped Mapleworm  Notodontidae
110 Synanthedon sequoiae (Hy. Edw.)  Sequoia pitch moth  Sesiidae
111 Syngrapha alias (Ottolengui)  Spruce climbing cutworm  Noctuidae
112 Tetracis cachexiata (Guenée)  White slaut  Geometridae
113 (*)  Tetralopha aplastella (Hulst.)  Aspen webworm  Pyralidae
114 Zale duplicata (Bethune)  Pine zale  Noctuidae
115 (*)  Zeiraphera canadensis Mutuura and Freeman  Spruce bud moth  Tortricidae
116 Zeiraphera hesperiana (Mutuura & Freeman)  Douglas-fir bud moth  Tortricidae
117 Zeiraphera improbana (Walker)  Larch needleworm  Tortricidae
118 Zeiraphera unfortunana Powell  Purplestriped shootworm  Tortricidae
119 Zelleria haimbachi Busck  Pine needle sheathminer  Yponomeutidae

Altogether, 299 species of Braconidae wasps have been found, worldwide, attacking those pest caterpillars. The world "worldwide" is stressed here in the sense that those records go beyond Canada to include ANY braconid wasp that has been cited in the scientific literature as a parasitoid of those lepidopterans. It is difficult and very time consuming to separate the sources of information for each individual species and pinpoint the country source (and it is even more difficult to be sure about the certainty of some of those records -some are likely to be wrong for a number of causes). Still, the information below gives an approximate estimate about the diversity of parasitoids of forest pest caterpillars.

For 40 (33.6%) of those caterpillar species there are none braconid wasps recorded as parasitoids. That means one third of the caterpillars where NOTHING is known about its parasitoid biology. And for another 31 species of lepidopterans (26%) only one or two species of braconid parasitoids.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are 30 or more braconid parasitoids recorded for 4 species of caterpillars. They represent important pests (such as the spruce budworm or the Gipsy moth) which at several times have been the focus of serious and intensive rearing efforts from biocontrol workers, resulting in hundreds of research papers.

Braconidae species (Total=299) recorded as parasitoids of 119 pests caterpillars of some relevance to Canadian forests. The numbers on top of each bar represent the actual number of braconids in each category. Modified from Taxapad (2012) and data from the Proceedings of the Forest Pest Management Forum (http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/pestforum).

It is obvious that more rearing studies are needed, and also more study of the specimens already available in collections that represent valuable information. Just one example: in the Canadian National Collection of Insects in Ottawa there are several thousand of braconid specimens reared from forest pest that have never been identified (http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/news26_2/microgastrinae.htm). Those records that await for study represent an unknown but rich source of biological information -which could be studied, hopefully soon.

Out of the 299 braconids, 120 species (or 40.1 %) were microgastrine wasps, reinforcing their importance as the main group of parasitoids wasps attacking caterpillars -not only in forestry but also in agriculture. At least 70% of those 120 species of microgastrines have been recorded in Canada, and over time we will be posting here more details on those species.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith