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Keywords:

  • Dasylepida ishigakiensis;
  • larval diapause;
  • reproductive diapause;
  • sugarcane pest;
  • temperature

Abstract The white grub Dasylepida ishigakiensis has a 2-year life cycle and spends approximately 9 months as a nonfeeding larva, pupa and adult on a subtropical island. Evidence is presented indicating that this beetle has two diapauses that appear to synchronize this long life cycle with the seasons. Larvae exposed to 20, 22.5, 25 and 27.5 °C late in the third (last) stadium pupate rapidly except for some individuals kept at the highest temperature. The latter pupate upon transfer to 22.5 °C, indicating that larval diapause is maintained at high temperature but terminates upon transfer to a lower temperature. Pupal development is directly temperature-dependent in the range 20–30 °C. Adults develop reproductive organs (i.e. the ovary in females and the seminal vesicles and accessory glands in males) rapidly at 15 and 20 °C, whereas those kept at 25 °C take a long time to do so. Ovarian development is completely suppressed at 30 °C but initiated upon transfer to 20 °C. In the laboratory, males with well-developed reproductive organs mate even with sexually immature females, whereas females with undeveloped ovaries show no sexual behaviour. Although the two diapauses of this species are thermally regulated (i.e. a characteristic commonly expressed by insects in summer diapause), adults of this beetle emerge from pupae late in the autumn and remain in the soil for 2 months. Adult diapause effectively serves to synchronize the time of sexual maturation with the coldest month of the year.