, Volume 177, Issue 2, pp 607–617 | Cite as

Responses of leaf beetle larvae to elevated [CO2] and temperature depend on Eucalyptus species

  • Andrew N. GherlendaEmail author
  • Anthony M. Haigh
  • Ben D. Moore
  • Scott N. Johnson
  • Markus RieglerEmail author
Global change ecology - Original research


It is essential to understand the combined effects of elevated [CO2] and temperature on insect herbivores when attempting to forecast climate change responses of diverse ecosystems. Plant species differ in foliar chemistry, and this may result in idiosyncratic plant-mediated responses of insect herbivores at elevated [CO2] and temperature. We measured the response of the eucalypt leaf beetle Paropsis atomaria (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) feeding on Eucalyptus tereticornis and Eucalyptus robusta. Seedlings were grown at ambient (400 µmol mol−1) or elevated (640 µmol mol−1) [CO2] and ambient (26/18 °C day/night) or elevated (ambient + 4 °C) temperature in a greenhouse for 7 months. Larvae fed on flush leaves from egg hatch to pupation while being directly exposed to these conditions. Elevated [CO2] reduced foliar [N] and [P], while it increased total nonstructural carbohydrates and the C:N ratio. Elevated temperature increased foliar [N] in E. robusta but not E. tereticornis. Plant-mediated effects of elevated [CO2] reduced female pupal weight and increased developmental time and leaf consumption. Larval survival at elevated [CO2] was impacted differently by the two host plant species; survival increased on E. robusta while it decreased on E. tereticornis. Elevated temperature accelerated larval development but did not impact other insect parameters. We did not detect a CO2 × temperature interaction, suggesting that elevated temperature as a combined direct and plant-mediated effect may not be able to ameliorate the negative plant-mediated effects of elevated [CO2] on insect herbivores. Our study highlighted host-plant-specific responses of insect herbivores to climate change factors that resulted in host-plant-specific survival.


Elevated CO2 × temperature interactions Coleoptera Eucalyptus Plant–insect interactions 



This research was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award to AG and DP1095972 of the Australian Research Council to MR. We thank Goran Lopaticki and Aidan Hall for technical assistance and Kaushal Tewari and Pushpinder Matta for CHN analysis.

Supplementary material

442_2014_3182_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (195 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 195 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hawkesbury Institute for the EnvironmentUniversity of Western SydneyPenrithAustralia
  2. 2.School of Science and HealthUniversity of Western SydneyPenrithAustralia

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