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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #358071

Research Project: Integrating Ecological Process Knowledge into Effective Management of Invasive Plants in Great Basin Rangelands

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: Life history and distributional information for three species of Periploca Braun (Lepidoptera: Cosmopterigidae) inhabiting Juniperus spp. (Cupressaceae) berries in the western U.S.

Author
item Tonkel, Kirk
item DIMITRI, LINDSAY - University Of Nevada
item Rector, Brian
item Longland, William - Bill
item KIRCHOFF, VERONICA - Charles River Laboratory

Submitted to: Pan-Pacific Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/4/2019
Publication Date: 4/2/2019
Citation: Tonkel, K.C., Dimitri, L.A., Rector, B.G., Longland, W.S., Kirchoff, V.S. 2019. Life history and distributional information for three species of Periploca Braun (Lepidoptera: Cosmopterigidae) inhabiting Juniperus spp. (Cupressaceae) berries in the western U.S. Pan-Pacific Entomologist. 95(1):37-46. https://doi.org/10.3956/2019-95.1.37.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3956/2019-95.1.37

Interpretive Summary: Expansion of native junipers is altering landscapes in the western U.S., prompting extensive management efforts to counter this spread and the negative effects on impacted ecosystems. Our studies investigating sources of seed mortality for three species of juniper occurring in the western U.S. have revealed a number of previously unreported seed-attacking insects. One of the most commonly encountered insects at collection locations in California and Nevada were small fruit-boring moths. DNA analysis of adult and immature moths both reared and dissected from juniper berries revealed the presence of three separate moth species and definitively associated each with their immature stages and with seed damage. In addition, screening for DNA of natural enemies revealed previously unknown predator-prey relationships. Details uncovered regarding the habits of these species provide a more refined understanding of this group of moths and the community of arthropods influencing juniper seed production, which can provide potentially valuable tools for the ongoing management of juniper expansion.

Technical Abstract: Expansion of native junipers, Juniperus Linnaeus (Cupressaceae), is altering landscapes in the western U.S., prompting extensive management efforts to counter this spread and the negative effects on impacted ecosystems. Our studies investigating sources of seed mortality in western juniper, Juniperus occidentalis Hooker; Utah juniper, Juniperus osteosperma (Torrey) Little); and California juniper, Juniperus californica Carrière, have revealed a number of previously unreported seed-attacking arthropods. One of the most commonly encountered insects at collection sites in California and Nevada are cone-boring cosmet moths (Cosmopterigidae) in the genus Periploca Braun, 1919. DNA analysis of insect adults and immatures both reared and dissected from juniper berries defi nitively associated Periploca adults with their immature stages and with seed damage while also screening for parasitoid DNA to reveal parasitoid-host relationships. Sequence data for Periploca adults and larvae revealed the presence of three species of Periploca attacking juniper berries at our survey locations. These have been identifi ed as P. atrata Hodges, 1962, commonly referred to as the juniper cone moth, along with P. juniperi Hodges, 1978, and P. serrulata Hodges, 1978. Previously unreported details regarding the life histories of these three species of Periploca, all of which were encountered in western, Utah, and California juniper, were revealed. In addition, berry dissections, rearing efforts, and DNA sequence data have linked numerous parasitoids to juniper berry-infesting Periploca. These findings develop a more refined understanding of the genus Periploca and the arthropod community influencing juniper seed production, which can provide potentially valuable tools for the ongoing management of juniper expansion.