Montana's huckleberry (Vaccinium globulare Rydberg) mystery: Pollinators, pests, and potential threats

Monday, April 4, 2016: 1:45 PM
Neptune Room (Pacific Beach Hotel)
Amelia Dolan , Montana Entomology Collection, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
Michael A. Ivie , Montana Entomology Collection, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
Research on the insect fauna associated with Montana’s huckleberries (Vaccinium globulare Rydb.) has been almost totally lacking.  This project aimed at addressing this dearth of information about a culturally important specialty crop. In 2014 and 2015, insects were sampled from huckleberry sites in the Yaak Valley of Northwestern Montana and the Gallatin Mountains of Southwestern Montana. Bumble bees (Bombus spp.), Vespids, and Andrenids were found to be the most frequent flower visitors. A variety of Lepidoptera, Diptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Hymenoptera were collected from the plant’s leaves and stems.  An attempt to distinguish between casual visitors and actual biological associations identified 30 species of huckleberry feeders.  These species received special taxonomic attention, and several new host plant records were recorded.  One of these was an undescribed species of sawfly in the genus Pristiphora (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae) that was found to be feeding on developing berries. These data are summarized and the results presented.
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