Experiments with duckweed-moth systems suggest global warming may reduce rather than promote herbivory

Tj. van Heide, R.M.M. Roijackers, E.T.H.M. Peeters, E.H. van Nes

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19 Citations (Scopus)


1. Wilf & Labandeira (1999)suggested that increased temperatures because of global warming will cause an increase in herbivory by insects. This conclusion was based on the supposed effect of temperature on herbivores but did not consider an effect of temperature on plant growth. 2. We studied the effect of temperature on grazing pressure by the small China-mark moth (Cataclysta lemnata L.) on Lemna minor L. in laboratory experiments. 3. Between temperatures of 15 and 24 degrees C we found a sigmoidal increase in C. lemnata grazing rates, and an approximately linear increase in L. minor growth rates. Therefore, an increase in temperature did not always result in higher grazing pressure by this insect as the regrowth of Lemna changes also. 4. At temperatures below 18.7 degrees C, Lemna benefited more than Cataclysta from an increase in temperature, causing a decrease in grazing pressure. 5. In the context of global warming, we conclude that rising temperatures will not necessarily increase grazing pressure by herbivorous insects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-116
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • biological-control
  • south-africa
  • temperature
  • ditches
  • lemna


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