Coupling developmental physiology, photoperiod, and temperature to model phenology and dynamics of an invasive heteropteran, Halyomorpha halys

Anne L. Nielsen, Shi Chen, Shelby J. Fleischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


We developed an agent-based stochastic model expressing stage-specific phenology and population dynamics for an insect species across geographic regions. We used the invasive pentatomid, Halyomorpha halys, as the model organism because gaps in knowledge exist regarding its developmental physiology, it is expanding its global distribution, and it is of significant economic importance. Model predictions were compared against field observations over 3 years, and the parameter set that enables the largest population growth was applied to eight locations over 10 years, capturing the variation in temperature and photoperiod profiles of significant horticultural crop production that could be affected by H. halys in the US. As a species that overwinters as adults, critical photoperiod significantly impacted H. halys seasonality and population size through its influence on diapause termination and induction, and this may impact other insects with similar life-histories. Photoperiod and temperature interactions influenced life stage synchrony among years, resulting in an order of magnitude difference, for occurrence of key life stages. At all locations, there was a high degree of overlap among life stages and generation. Although all populations produced F2 adults and thus could be characterized as bivoltine, the size and relative contribution of each generation to the total, or overwintering, adult population also varied dramatically. In about half of the years in two locations (Geneva, NY and Salem, OR), F1 adults comprised half or more of the adult population at the end of the year. Yearly degree-day accumulation was a significant covariate influencing variation in population growth, and average maximum adult population size varied by 10-fold among locations. Average final population growth was positive (Asheville, NC, Homestead, FL, Davis, CA) or marginal (Geneva, NY, Bridgeton, NJ, Salem, OR, Riverside, CA), but was negative in one location (Wenatchee WA) due to cooler temperatures coupled with timing of vitellogenesis of F2 adults. Years of the highest population growth in the mid-Atlantic site coincided with years of highest crop damage reports. We discuss these results with respect to assumptions and critical knowledge gaps, the ability to realistically model phenology of species with strongly overlapping life stage and which diapause as adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number165
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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