mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae)
An ambrosia beetle native to western North America, formerly confined to old, weakened or overcrowded trees of several pine species, now in epidemic numbers destroying vast areas of healthy forest in the beetle’s native range. About 160,000km2 of native forest in British Columbia, especially of lodgepole pine, has suffered up to 70% mortality. The epidemic extends far to the east and south in the Rocky Mountains where ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and limber pine (P.flexilis) are susceptible. The change in behaviour of the beetle is thought to be due to a series of unusually hot, dry summers.