, Volume 146, Issue 3, pp 365–372 | Cite as

Are bark beetle outbreaks less synchronous than forest Lepidoptera outbreaks?

  • Bjørn Økland
  • Andrew M. Liebhold
  • Ottar N. Bjørnstad
  • Nadir Erbilgin
  • Paal Krokene
Population Ecology


Comparisons of intraspecific spatial synchrony across multiple epidemic insect species can be useful for generating hypotheses about major determinants of population patterns at larger scales. The present study compares patterns of spatial synchrony in outbreaks of six epidemic bark beetle species in North America and Europe. Spatial synchrony among populations of the Eurasian spruce bark beetle Ips typographus was significantly higher than for the other bark beetle species. The spatial synchrony observed in epidemic bark beetles was also compared with previously published patterns of synchrony in outbreaks of defoliating forest Lepidoptera, revealing a marked difference between these two major insect groups. The bark beetles exhibited a generally lower degree of spatial synchrony than the Lepidoptera, possibly because bark beetles are synchronized by different weather variables that are acting on a smaller scale than those affecting the Lepidoptera, or because inherent differences in their dynamics leads to more cyclic oscillations and more synchronous spatial dynamics in the Lepidoptera.


Spatial synchrony Scolytidae Moth Weather Population dynamics 



This study was performed at the Penn State University and the Norwegian Forest Research Institute, and received financially support from the Norwegian Research Council (the Climate Effect Programme), the Norwegian Forest Research Institute, and USDA grant 2002-35302-12656. We thank the USDA Forest Service for outbreak maps and Gino Luzader for digitization and preparation of datasets from the outbreak maps.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bjørn Økland
    • 1
  • Andrew M. Liebhold
    • 2
  • Ottar N. Bjørnstad
    • 3
  • Nadir Erbilgin
    • 4
  • Paal Krokene
    • 1
  1. 1.Norwegian Forest Research InstituteÅsNorway
  2. 2.USDA Forest Service Northeastern Research StationMorgantownUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Entomology and BiologyPennsylvania State UniversityPennsylvaniaUSA
  4. 4.Division of Insect BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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