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Document Type

Peer-Review Article

Abstract

Lymantriidae (Lepidoptera) is a family of leaf-feeding insects that includes some of the most damaging forest pests worldwide. Species within this family vary widely in feeding specificity. We evaluated the ability of four species, Douglas fir tussock moth (Orgyia pseudotsugata McDunnough), nun moth (Lymantria monacha L. ), rusty tussock moth (Orgyia antiqua (L.)), and white- marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma (J. E. Smith)), to contend with one of the most ubiquitous and effective groups of plant defense compounds, terpenoids. We selected these species to provide a range of feeding specificities on conifer hosts, from obligate to occasional. We evaluated the effects of three monoterpenes (bornyl acetate, limonene, and myrcene) and two diterpene acids (isopimaric acid and neoabietic acid) on larval performance. Although these four species differ in their feeding ranges, utilization of conifers as hosts, and other life history processes, each shows a relatively high tolerance for conifer terpenes. The mean relative growth rates, relative consumption rates, and development times were not affected by these monoterpenes and diterpene acids when administered at concentrations present in the foliage of conifers in which they are most abundant. The most likely explanation seems to be metabolism, as a) no limonene or myrcene were recovered from frass or larvae, and b) borneol, an apparent metabolite of bornyl acetate, was recovered from frass of Douglas fir tussock moth, rusty tussock moth, and white-marked tussock moth, and from tissues of Douglas fir tussock moth and white-marked tussock moth.

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