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1 April 2008 Factors Influencing Woodpecker Predation on Emerald Ash Borer
Catherine A. Lindell, Deborah G. McCullough, David Cappaert, Natalya M. Apostolou, Melinda B. Roth
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Woodpeckers are a significant source of mortality of emerald ash borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire), an Asian phloem-feeding insect first discovered in North America in 2002. However, factors that may influence woodpecker-EAB interactions have not been investigated. We collected data on woodpecker predation, EAB density and tree and site characteristics in southeastern Michigan, where EAB first became established. We tested statistical models to assess the ability of these variables to account for woodpecker predation levels. We observed foraging woodpeckers in the field to determine which species foraged on ash, and to compare the time spent foraging on ash vs. other tree species. Levels of woodpecker predation on EAB were variable, ranging from zero to 26.3 woodpecker attacks per m2 for green ash (n  =  15 sites) and from 2.3 to 37.1 attacks per m2 for white ash (n  =  7 sites). Woodpecker predation level was positively associated with the EAB density in a tree. White ash had higher predation levels than green ash, and less forested sites had higher predation levels than forested sites. However, these variables explained a relatively small amount of the variation in woodpecker predation level. Hairy, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers were observed foraging on ash trees. Woodpeckers spent significantly more time in foraging bouts on ash than on other tree species in EAB-infested areas. We suggest that managers of sites with substantial ash populations maintain conditions that are attractive to woodpeckers to encourage predation of EAB. Our analyses indicate that we need to understand much more about the foraging patterns of woodpeckers on EAB to be able to predict their impact on EAB populations.

Catherine A. Lindell, Deborah G. McCullough, David Cappaert, Natalya M. Apostolou, and Melinda B. Roth "Factors Influencing Woodpecker Predation on Emerald Ash Borer," The American Midland Naturalist 159(2), 434-444, (1 April 2008).[434:FIWPOE]2.0.CO;2
Received: 7 November 2006; Accepted: 1 October 2007; Published: 1 April 2008
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