• adaptive phenotypic plasticity;
  • carry-over;
  • cross-generational effect;
  • invasive species;
  • pyrethroids;
  • species range;
  • stress tolerance;
  • sub-lethal effects


Adaptation to stressful environments is one important factor influencing species invasion success. Tolerance to one stress may be complicated by exposure to other stressors experienced by the preceding generations. We studied whether parental temperature stress affects tolerance to insecticide in the invasive Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata. Field-collected pyrethroid-resistant beetles were reared under either stressful (17°C) or favourable (23°C) insecticide-free environments for three generations. Then, larvae were exposed to pyrethroid insecticides in common garden conditions (23°C). Beetles were in general tolerant to stress. The parental temperature stress alone affected beetles positively (increased adult weight) but it impaired their tolerance to insecticide exposure. In contrast, offspring from the favourable temperature regime showed compensatory weight gain in response to insecticide exposure. Our study emphasizes the potential of cross-generational effects modifying species stress tolerance. When resistant pest populations invade benign environments, a re-application of insecticides may enhance their performance via hormetic effects. In turn, opposite effects may arise if parental generations have been exposed to temperature stress. Thus, the outcome of management practices of invasive pest species is difficult to predict unless we also incorporate knowledge of the evolutionary and recent (preceding generations) stress history of the given populations into pest management.