The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) is the most serious pest of pines (Pinus) in western North America. Host pines protect themselves from attack by producing a complex mixture of terpenes in their resin. We sampled lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta variety latifolia) phloem resin at four widely separated locations in the interior of British Columbia, Canada, both just before (beginning of July) and substantially after (end of August) the mountain pine beetle dispersal period. The sampled trees then were observed the next spring for evidence of survival, and the levels of seven resin monoterpenes were compared between July and August samples. Trees that did not survive consistently had significantly higher phloem resin monoterpene levels at the end of August compared with levels in July. Trees that did survive mainly did not exhibit a significant difference between the two sample dates. The accumulation of copious defense-related secondary metabolites in the resin of mountain pine beetle-killed lodgepole pine has important implications for describing the environmental niche that the beetle offspring survive in as well as that of parasitoids, predators, and other associates.
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