Invasive Insects Differ from Non-Invasive in Their Thermal Requirements
Published: June, 2015
We tested whether two basic thermal requirements for insect development, lower developmental thresholds, i.e. temperatures at which development ceases, and sums of effective temperatures, i.e. numbers of day degrees above the lower developmental thresholds necessary to complete development, differ among insect species that proved to be successful invaders in regions outside their native range and those that did not. Focusing on species traits underlying invasiveness that are related to temperature provides insights into the mechanisms of insect invasions. The screening of thermal requirements thus could improve risk-assessment schemes by incorporating these traits in predictions of potentially invasive insect species. We compared 100 pairs of taxonomically-related species originating from the same continent, one invasive and the other not reported as invasive. Invasive species have higher lower developmental thresholds than those never recorded outside their native ranges. Invasive species also have a lower sum of effective temperatures, though not significantly. However, the differences between invasive and non-invasive species in the two physiological measures were significantly inversely correlated. This result suggests that many species are currently prevented from invading by low temperatures in some parts of the world. Those species that will overcome current climatic constraints in regions outside their native distribution due to climate change could become even more serious future invaders than present-day species, due to their potentially faster development.