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Too hot to handle? Phenological and life-history responses to simulated climate change of the southern green stink bug Nezara viridula (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae)


Dmitry L. Musolin, Laboratory of Insect Ecology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan, tel. +81 75 753 6147, fax +81 75 753 6474, e-mail:


The effect of simulated climate change on Nezara viridula was studied close to the species' northern range limit in Japan. Insects from the same egg masses were reared for 15 months in 10 consecutive series under quasi-natural (i.e. outdoor) conditions and in a transparent incubator, in which climate warming was simulated by adding 2.5 °C to the outdoor temperature. The warming strongly affected all life-history and phenological parameters. In the spring, the simulated warming advanced the timing of postdiapause body colour changes and reproduction. In the early summer, it increased egg production and accelerated nymphal development. In the late summer (the hottest season), the effect of the simulated warming was strongly deleterious: nymphs developed slowly, suffered higher mortality and had difficulties during final moulting; the emerged females were smaller, some exhibited abnormal cuticle, produced fewer eggs and had a decreased life span. In the autumn, the warming accelerated nymphal development, resulted in larger female size, affected the timing of the diapause-associated adult body colour change from green to russet and enhanced preparation for overwintering. Larger females had higher winter survival rate than smaller females. The warming strongly increased survival rate in both size classes and allowed smaller females to reach the same winter survival rate as larger females had under the quasi-natural conditions. The winter survival also differed between the green and dark-coloured females under the quasi-natural, but not under the warming conditions. However, under the warming conditions, green females survived the winter even better than dark-coloured females did under the quasi-natural conditions. The warming also shortened the life span of females from the summer generations and prolonged it in those from the autumn generation. It is concluded that even a moderate temperature increase (+2.5 °C) in the future is likely to have a complex influence upon insects, strongly affecting many of their life-history and phenological parameters.