The impact of invasive thistle species on dynamics of Cercopidae in the Stikine-Skeena region of northern British Columbia
Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry
DisciplineNatural Resources Management
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During the Summer of 2019 I worked on suppressing invasive species spread in the Stikine-Skeena region of Northern British Columbia. I frequently observed invasive thistle species of the genus Cirsium hosting abundant individuals of the introduced meadow spittlebug, Philaneus spumarius, more so than other surrounding native flora. My own observations, as well as the scientific literature, point to the meadow spittlebug potentially preferring invasive thistle species due to reasons such as nymph development synchronization. Interpreting information provided by a number of sources, it is shown that invasive thistle species will continue to spread throughout the Stikine-Skeena from factors such as climate change, increased human development in the north, and the general invasive nature of thistle species. This paper suggests that this invasive thistle spread could benefit the population and ranges of P. spumarius as well. Assessing the destructive impacts of meadow spittlebugs on a vast number of crop species and native flora points to their additive spread only amplifying the severity of damage that comes with the spread of invasive thistle species like Cirsium arvense. This potential synergistic relationship may hold significant impacts on the economy and environment of the Stikine-Skeena region as climate change and human expansion continue to unfold.