Direct impacts of recent climate warming on insect populations


Correspondence: Christelle Robinet, INRA Zoologie Forestière, 2163 Avenue de la Pomme de Pin, B.P. 20619 Ardon, 45166 Olivet cedex, France. Email:


Effects of recent climate change have already been detected in many species, and, in particular, in insects. The present paper reviews the key impacts of global warming on insect development and dispersal. The effects of climate change appear to be much more complex than a simple linear response to an average increase in temperature. They can differ between seasons and bioclimatic regions. Earlier flight periods, enhanced winter survival and acceleration of development rates are the major insect responses. Differential response of insects and hosts to warming up might also lead to disruption of their phenological synchrony, but adaptive genetic processes are likely to quickly restore this synchrony. In a number of cases, warming results in removing or relocating the barriers that limit present species' ranges. It is also likely to facilitate the establishment and spread of invasive alien species. Finally, knowledge gaps are identified and future research interests are suggested.