Communication and Perception
Once a female adult beetle exits the tree from in which it hatched, it will attack a new tree, meanwhile releasing a pheromone that attracts other beetles to the site. These other beetles are then able to attack the target tree, as well as adjacent trees. Males that have been attracted to these trees then attack and release their own pheromones, thereby attracting more females to the site. Once a critical density of beetles per tree has been reached, males and females then release more pheromones, signaling to others to attack adjacent trees instead.
One of the pheromones produced by female D. ponderosae at critical density is called verbenone. Because verbenone at one site signals to D. ponderosae to avoid that site and seek out another, verbenone has been considered as a repellent the mountain pine beetle.
Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: pheromones
Perception Channels: acoustic ; chemical