Research note

Are the moth larvae able to withstand tree fall caused by wind storm?

Michal Parák , Ján Kulfan, Peter Zach

Michal Parák
Institute of Forest Ecology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Ľ. Štúra 2, 960 53 Zvolen, Slovak Republic. Email:
Ján Kulfan
Institute of Forest Ecology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Ľ. Štúra 2, 960 53 Zvolen, Slovak Republic
Peter Zach
Institute of Forest Ecology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Ľ. Štúra 2, 960 53 Zvolen, Slovak Republic

Online First: March 18, 2015
Parák, M., Kulfan, J., Zach, P. 2015. Are the moth larvae able to withstand tree fall caused by wind storm?. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2015.346

Wind storms play an important role in structuring European forests, however, the direct effects of strong wind on insects roosting in tree canopies are poorly known. In this study we assess the proportion of moth larvae which remain on Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) trees which have fallen during high winds. Next, we contribute to the knowledge of potential importance of such larvae in forests fragmented by local wind damage. We studied the effects of wind in spruce forest in the West Carpathians in March 2013. Branches were sampled from randomly chosen fallen and standing (undamaged) spruce trees in April 2013. Larvae or emerged moths were obtained from branches in the laboratory using photoeclectors. Assemblages of larvae were analysed at community level using several approaches. In total, 11 species of Lepidoptera were found on the branches, 10 of them overwinter as larvae and one as eggs. No differences were observed between abundance and species richness of larval assemblages on fallen and standing trees. Assemblages were very similar; there was no difference detected between standing and fallen trees. Overwintering larvae can successfully complete their development on wind-felled trees; hence, the emerged moths may contribute to greater infestation of standing spruce trees surviving wind disturbance.

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