Field and laboratory experiments were conducted to elucidate various factors influencing the temperature-dependent larval eclosion of winter moth, Operophtera brumata L, in New England. We found no difference in duration of the embryonic stage of eggs reared from larvae collected in Massachusetts (MA) and on Vancouver Island, British Columbia (BC), where winter temperatures are rarely below freezing. The number of growing degree days (GDD) required for larval eclosion declined with the number of days chilled in the laboratory and number of days below freezing in the field, confirming the findings of previous studies. Thus, eggs hatched with fewer GDD, when the spring came later than usual. Date of oviposition had no effect on date of hatch. Eggs laid by naturally occurring (feral) females hatched sooner, with lower GDD, than eggs from laboratory-reared females from MA and BC held on the same trees over the winter. South-facing eggs on the stems of trees hatched on average 1.6 days sooner than north-facing eggs. GDD calculated from bihourly measures of temperature were 15% greater than GDD estimates based on the average of daily maximum and minimum temperatures, as used by many GDD estimates made for online sources. Over two years, the mean GDD in °C for hatch of feral eggs was 176.53 ± 6.35 SE based on bihourly temperature measurements, a 1 January start date, and a 3.9°C developmental threshold. This value varied markedly, however, between the two years.
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Vol. 44 • No. 3