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Shifting of the life cycle and life-history traits of the fall webworm in relation to climate change


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The effects of global warming on the life cycle and life-history traits of the fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea (Drury) (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae), were investigated in Fukui, Japan. Our previous studies showed that the Fukui population had a predominantly bivoltine life cycle, but recently the life cycle has changed. In the present study, the life-history traits of individuals collected in 2002 in Fukui were clarified and compared to those in the previous studies. The lower threshold temperature for development and the thermal constant for one generation were 10.6 °C and 724.4 degree days, respectively. Although these developmental parameters were not investigated in the previous studies, the difference of the developmental period between the present and previous results was negligible in the larval and pupal stages at 20 °C. The critical photoperiod for diapause induction was 14 h 29 min at 20 °C and 14 h 10 min at 25 °C. The critical photoperiod at 25 °C was shortened to 14 min from that of the previous studies for individuals collected in 1995. The incidence of pupal diapause in the second generation was investigated in individuals that were collected as fourth and fifth instars in the field. Some portion of individuals averted diapause even if they were kept under a short photoperiod of L14:D10 at 25 °C after collection. These results, together with climate data and field observations in Fukui, suggest that at least a part of the population has three generations per year at present. This shift of the life cycle occurred within 7 years and is probably related to global warming in recent years.