The currently accepted lower threshold temperature for the development of diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), the world's most destructive insect pest of cruciferous crops, is around 6.0°C, and there is no known upper threshold temperature. Neither are there established threshold temperatures for diamondback moth’s major natural enemy, Diadegma insulare (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). Laboratory studies were undertaken to determine the survival and development of a North American diamondback moth population and its parasitoid D. insulare at 20 constant temperatures ranging from 2.0 to 38.0°C. Diamondback moth completed development from second instar to adult within a temperature range of 4.0–37°C, and D. insulare completed its life cycle from egg to adult within a temperature range of 4.0–33°C. The developmental data were fitted into one linear and four nonlinear models. Using goodness-of-fit and the ability to estimate parameters of biological significance as selection criteria, the Wang model was the most acceptable among the nonlinear models to describe the relationship between temperature and development of both species. According to this model, the lower and upper threshold temperatures for diamondback moth were 2.1 and 38.0°C, respectively, and for D. insulare they were 2.1 and 34.0°C, respectively. Based on the Degree Day model, diamondback moth required 143 d above the lower threshold of 4.23°C to complete the life cycle, while D. insulare required 286 d above the lower threshold of 2.57°C. This study suggests that temperatures during the crop-growing seasons in North America are not limiting factors for development of either diamondback moth or D. insulare.
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Vol. 43 • No. 5