Host plant-mediated effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on growth and developmental parameters of Zygogramma bicolorata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae).
Mexican beetle, Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister (Coleptera: Chrysomelidae) is a potential weed control biocontrol agent in Australia, India and other countries. Its grubs and adults feed on the leaves of parthenium weed, Parthenium hysterophorus and check the further growth of the plant. Experiments were conducted to understand host plant-mediated effects of elevated temperature and elevated CO2 on biocontrol agent Z. bicolorata. Food consumption, utilization, ecological efficiency and life-table parameters of Z. bicolorata were studied in grubs and adults stage up to diapause. Reduction of leaf nitrogen in parthenium weed foliage with a significant increase in carbon and C:N ratio was recorded at elevated CO2. Elevated CO2 and temperature had no effect on adult longevity before diapausing. Duration of egg's hatching, specific stages of grub and pupa of Z. bicolorata were significantly longer when beetles fed on leaves grown under elevated CO2 but these parameters decreased significantly on leaves grown under elevated temperature. Significantly high consumption rates with low growth and digestion conversions were observed under elevated CO2 and/or in coupled with elevated temperature. Elevated CO2 and temperature-grown parthenium weed foliage also had a significant effect on Z. bicolorata intrinsic rate of increase (R), finite rate of increase (λ), mean generation time (T), and gross reproductive rate. Changed quality of parthenium weed leaves in elevated CO2 and temperature levels resulted in the increase of consumption, slower food conversion rates, increase in developmental period with reduced reproduction efficiency of Z. bicolorata. Our results indicate that the reproduction efficiency of Z. bicolorata is likely to be reduced as the climate changes, despite increased feeding rates exhibited by grubs and adult beetles on parthenium weed foliage.