Addressing a century-old hypothesis – do pioneer beetles of Ips typographus use volatile cues to find suitable host trees?

Linda M.A. Lehmanski, Dineshkumar Kandasamy, Martin N. Andersson, Sigrid Netherer, Eliane Gomes Alves, Jianbei Huang, Henrik Hartmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Global warming and more frequent climate extremes have caused bark beetle outbreaks of unprecedented scale of these insects in many conifer forests world-wide. Conifers that have been weakened by drought and heat or damaged by storms are highly susceptible to bark beetle infestation. A large proportion of trees with impaired defences provides good conditions for beetle population build-up of beetles, but mechanisms driving host search of pioneer beetles are still uncertain in several species, including the Eurasian spruce bark beetle Ips typographus. Despite a two-century-long history of bark beetle research, we still lack a sufficient understanding of interactions between I. typographus and its host Norway spruce (Picea abies) to forecast future disturbance regimes and forest dynamics. Depending on the scale (habitat or patch) and beetle population state (endemic or epidemic), host selection is likely driven by a combination of pre and postlanding cues, including visual selection or olfactory detection (kairomones). Here, we discuss primary attraction mechanisms and how volatile emission profiles of Norway spruce may provide cues on tree vitality and suitability for attacks by I. typographus, in particular during the endemic phase. We identify several crucial knowledge gaps and provide a research agenda addressing the experimental challenges of such investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1762-1770
Number of pages9
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology
  • Zoology

Free keywords

  • bark beetle
  • monoterpenes
  • Norway spruce
  • primary attraction
  • tree attractiveness
  • volatile organic compounds

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