Thermal plasticity and sensitivity to insecticides in populations of an invasive beetle: cyfluthrin increases vulnerability to extreme temperature.
Climate change increases average temperatures and the occurrence of extreme weather events, in turn accentuating the risk of organism exposure to temperature stress. When thermal conditions become stressful, the sensitivity of insects toward insecticides can be exacerbated. Likewise, exposure of insects to insecticides can subsequently influence their ability to handle stressful temperatures. Here, we investigated the effects of constant temperature and daily heat spikes, in presence/absence of insecticide treatment (cyfluthrin), on the condition (impairment of mobility) and thermal tolerance to cold (-6°C) and heat (42.5°C) of the terrestrial beetle Alphitobius diaperinus. The responses of insects from four populations (three farm-collected populations, one laboratory population) to different durations of extreme temperature exposure were compared. The results showed that the laboratory population was generally more sensitive to extreme cold and heat temperatures, with less than 50% of adults recovering after an exposure at -6 or +42.5°C for 3h. Significant differences in the level of thermal tolerance were also found among insects from poultry farms. Cyfluthrin exposure incurred detrimental effects to insects' condition in all but one population. For two out of the four populations, mobility impairment was increased when adults were exposed to daily heat spikes (6 h per day at 38°C) and cyfluthrin simultaneously, compared to cyfluthrin exposure at constant temperatures; yet, no significant interaction between the two stressors was found. Finally, using one farm collected population, effects of pre-exposure to cyfluthrin on extreme temperature tolerance provided another example of the toxicant-induced climate sensitivity in insects.