Document Type


Date of Original Version



Biological Sciences


Although sap-feeding insects are known to negatively affect plant growth and physiology, less is known about sap-feeding insects on woody plants. Adelges tsugae (Annand Hemiptera: Adelgidae), the hemlock woolly adelgid, is an invasive sap-feeding insect in eastern North America that feeds on and kills Tsuga canadensis (L. Carrière), eastern hemlock. Newly hatched adelgid nymphs crawl to young unattacked tissue, settle and immediately enter diapause (aestivation) while attached to hemlock in summer. We assessed the effect of A. tsugae infestation on T. canadensis growth and physiology by analyzing hemlock growth on lateral and terminal branches, water potential, photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and foliar nitrogen (%N). A. tsugae infestation greatly decreased terminal and lateral growth of eastern hemlock. In addition, A. tsugae presence reduced photosynthesis by 10 % in September and 36 % in October. Adelgid-infested hemlocks also exhibited signs of water stress that included notable reductions in water potential and stomatal conductance. These responses shed light on possible mechanisms of adelgid-induced mortality.