Dissecting insect responses to climate warming: overwintering and post-diapause performance in the southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula, under simulated climate-change conditions


Dr Dmitry L. Musolin, Department of Entomology, Faculty of Biology and Soil Sciences, Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab., 7/9, Saint Petersburg 199034, Russia. Tel.: +7 921 3259186; e-mail: musolin@gmail.com


The effect of simulated climate change on overwintering and post-diapause reproductive performance is studied in Nezara viridula (L.) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) close to the species' northern range limit in Japan. Insects are reared from October to June under quasi-natural (i.e. ambient outdoor) conditions and in a transparent incubator, in which climate warming is simulated by adding 2.5°C to the ambient temperatures. Despite the earlier assumption that females of N. viridula overwinter in diapause, whereas males do so in quiescence, regular dissections show that the two sexes overwinter in a state of true diapause. During winter, both sexes are dark-coloured and have undeveloped reproductive organs. Resumption of development does not start until late March. During winter, the effect of simulated warming on the dynamics and timing of physiological processes appears to be limited. However, the warming significantly enhances winter survival (from 27–31% to 47–70%), which is a key factor in range expansion of N. viridula. In spring, the effect of simulated warming is complex. It advances the post-diapause colour change and transition from dormancy to reproduction. The earlier resumption of development is more pronounced in females: in April, significantly more females are already in a reproductive state under the simulated warming than under quasi-natural conditions. In males, the tendency is similar, although the difference is not significant. Warming significantly enhances spring survival and percentage of copulating adults, although not the percentage of ovipositing females and fecundity. The results suggest that, under the expected climate-warming conditions, N. viridula will likely benefit mostly as a result of increased winter and spring survival and advanced post-diapause reproduction. Further warming is likely to allow more adults to survive the critical cold season and contribute (both numerically and by increasing heterogeneity) to the post-overwintering population growth, thus promoting the establishment of this species in newly-colonized areas.