Great Basin Naturalist


In 1979, the walnut spanworm defoliated a 1 ha bitterbrush seed orchard near Nephi, Utah. No seed was produced for two years thereafter due to feeding damage. Life stages were described and illustrated. The female is brachypterous and incapable of flight. First instar larvae readily drop on their silk threads and probably are dispersed by wind. The insect has one annual generation. Moths laid an average of 159 eggs per cluster in April; larvae began to appear in early May and matured by the first week of June. The pupal period extended from June until mid-April. The parasitic bombyliid, Villa faustina (Osten Sacken), was reared from pupae. In April 1980, shrubs contained an estimated average of 1044 eggs each. On 19 May, larvae averaged 1.9 per 7.5 cm of twig and were in the first and second instar. On 20 May the population was controlled by spraying with Sevimol-4. Other potential host plants, as determined from greenhouse tests, are rose, ceanothus, mountain mahogany, serviceberry, and willow.