Spruce aphid, Elatobium abietinum (Walker), is a new invasive pest in high-elevation forests of southwestern USA. Plots in the White Mountains of Arizona were evaluated over several years to assess the extent and severity of damage in high-elevation forests and to identify tree and site characteristics associated with defoliation and mortality. Large areas were defoliated in each of 4 recent outbreaks. Impact from a single defoliation episode included an overall mortality of 10.3% to Picea engelmannii Parry, 24%–41% in severely defoliated trees. Defoliation severity was much greater on P. engelmannii than on P. pungens Engelm. and was more severe in the lower canopy layers. Retention of foliage in the upper-crown third of individual trees was a critical factor in tree survivorship. Mortality was associated with defoliation severity and severe infection by Arceuthobium microcarpum (Engelmann) Hawksworth & Wiens. Picea pungens was much more susceptible to A. microcarpum more than was P. engelmannii. The combined effects of high levels of defoliation and mistletoe infection were lethal, resulting in almost 70% mortality. Mortality continued to occur at 3 years after defoliation. This aphid will affect natural disturbance regimes and tree population dynamics in mixed-conifer and spruce-fir forests of the American Southwest.
Lynch, Ann M.
"Fate and characteristics of Picea damaged by Elatobium abietinum (Walker) (Homoptera: Aphididae) in the White Mountains of Arizona,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 64
, Article 2.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol64/iss1/2