Insect Damage in Wood

The evolution of wood exploitation by insects can provide significant historical context to the modern timber crisis of destructive insect species. The evolutionary origin of wood-infesting insects dates back over 200 million years with beetles, and expands with the later evolution of bees, wasps, ants and termites by the end of the Mesozoic (~70 million years ago). The destructive record of these insects is recorded by petrified wood that bears the trace fossil scars of feeding. This pilot study aims to build primary observations on the diversity and frequency of these trace fossils in petrified wood from Utah and Arizona spanning the Mesozoic Era to test the hypothesis that borings increase through time in concert with the evolution of wood-infesting insects.

Research funded by ISU-URC.

Xylokrypta beetle borings in Traissic petrified wood, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona.

Tapanila & Roberts 2012
Media: ISU, Feb 2012
Media: Salt Lake Tribune
, Feb 2012