Costs and benefits of thermal acclimation for codling moth, Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae): Implications for pest control and the sterile insect release programme

Chidawanyika F. ; Terblanche J.S. (2011)


Sterile insect release (SIR) is used to suppress insect pest populations in agro-ecosystems, but its success hinges on the performance of the released insects and prevailing environmental conditions. For example, low temperatures dramatically reduce SIR efficacy in cooler conditions. Here, we report on the costs and benefits of thermal acclimation for laboratory and field responses of codling moth, Cydia pomonella. Using a component of field fitness, we demonstrate that low temperature acclimated laboratory-reared moths are recaptured significantly more (∼2-4×) under cooler conditions in the wild relative to warm-acclimated or control moths. However, improvements in low temperature performance in cold-acclimated moths came at a cost to performance under warmer conditions. At high ambient temperatures, warm-acclimation improved field performance relative to control or cold-acclimated moths. Laboratory assessments of thermal activity and their limits matched the field results, indicating that these laboratory assays may be transferable to field performance. This study demonstrates clear costs and benefits of thermal acclimation on laboratory and field performance and the potential utility of thermal pretreatments for offsetting negative efficacy in SIR programmes under adverse thermal conditions. Consequently, the present work shows that evolutionary principles of phenotypic plasticity can be used to improve field performance and thus possibly enhance pest control programmes seeking increased efficacy. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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