A dynamic energy budget approach for the prediction of development times and variability in Spodoptera frugiperda rearing.
A major challenge in insect rearing is the need to provide certain life cycle stages at a given time for the initiation of experimental trials. The timing of delivery, organism quality, and variability directly affect the outcome of such trials. Development times and intraspecific variability are directly linked to the availability of food and to the ambient temperature. Varying temperature regimes is an approach to adapt development times to fulfill experimental needs without impairment of larval quality. However, current practices of temperature setting may lead to increased variability in terms of development times and the frequency of particular life stages at a given point in time. In this study, we analyzed how resource availability and ambient temperature may affect the larval development of the economically important noctuid species Spodoptera frugiperda by means of dynamic energy budget modeling. More specifically, we analyzed how rearing practices such as raising of temperatures may affect the variability in larval development. Overall, the presented modeling approach provides a support system for decisions that must be made for the timely delivery of larvae and reduction of variability.