Infectious Diseases and Population Cycles of Forest Insects

Science  07 Nov 1980:
Vol. 210, Issue 4470, pp. 658-661
DOI: 10.1126/science.210.4470.658


The regulation of natural populations of invertebrate hosts by viral, bacterial, protozoan, or helminth infections is discussed, using models that combine elements of conventional epidemiology (where the host population is assumed constant) with dynamic elements drawn from predator-prey studies; the apparent absence of acquired immunity in invertebrates simplifies the analysis. Highly pathogenic infections, with long-lived infective stages, tend to produce cyclic behavior in their host populations. The models give an explanation of the 9- to 10-year population cycles of the larch bud moth (Zeiraphera diniana) in the European Alps and suggest that microsporidian protozoan and baculovirus infections may be responsible for the 5- to 12-year population cycles observed in many temperate forest insects.