Population Structure and the Conundrum of Local Adaptation

  • Don Alstad


The black pineleaf scale insect (Nuculaspis californica Coleman) is a parasite of western yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa Lawson) and 11 other conifer species (Ferris 1938; Furniss and Carolin 1977). The insects are short-lived relative to their host trees, largely sedentary, and achieve persistent, damaging infestations in areas where airborne dust or the drift of orchard insecticide compromises biological control agents. The abundance of black pineleaf scale varies within an infested stand and correlates with the age and size of the trees; larger, older pines harbor more scales than smaller, younger ones. In the same paper that laid out this basic biology, George Edmunds (1973, p. 765) was first to suggest that “scale populations apparently become adapted to specific host individuals, and population densities can become high only with genetic fitness of the population to the host species and individual.”


Local Adaptation Host Tree Malic Enzyme Scale Density Scale Insect 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Don Alstad
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology, Evolution, and BehaviorUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA

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