A computer-simulated study was conducted to determine whether mean or median functional lower developmental thresholds and required degree-days were superior for predicting the dates on which insect phenological events occurred. In addition, these simulations allowed us to determine if the type of year (weatherwise) influenced those predictions. Results indicated that when median functional lower developmental thresholds and required degree-days were used their predictions were closer to the dates on which the phenological events occurred than were predictions that were made using mean thresholds and required degree-days. Also, the predictions of phenological events made when using median functional lower developmental thresholds and required degree-days were not strongly influenced by the type of year. However, the influence of type of year was quite strong when predictions were made when using mean thresholds and required degree-days. The variability in predictions that were made when using median functional lower developmental thresholds and required degree-days was greater than the variability in predictions that were made when using mean thresholds and required degree days. However, the increased variability was caused by many predictions being closer to, rather than farther from, the actual dates on which the phenological events occurred. Based on these findings, we suggest that median functional lower developmental thresholds, along with median required degree-days, be considered for use when predicting insect phenological events in the field.
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Vol. 93 • No. 3