Climate change will have a major bearing on survival and development of insects as a result of increase in CO2 and temperature. Therefore, we studied the direct effects of CO2 and temperature on larval development and metabolism in cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner). The larvae were reared under a range of CO2 (350, 550, and 750 ppm) and temperature (15, 25, 35, and 45°C) regimes on artificial diet. Elevated CO2 negatively affected the larval survival, larval weight, larval period, pupation, and adult emergence, but showed a positive effect on pupal weight, pupal period, and fecundity. Increase in temperature exhibited a negative effect on larval survival, larval period, pupal weights, and pupal period, but a positive effect on larval growth. Pupation and adult emergence were optimum at 25°C. Elevated CO2 and temperature increased food consumption and metabolism of larvae by enhancing the activity of midgut proteases, carbohydrases (amylase and cellulase), and mitochondrial enzymes and therefore may cause more damage to crop production. Elevated CO2 and global warming will affect insect growth and development, which will change the interactions between the insect pests and their crop hosts. Therefore, there is need to gain an understanding of these interactions to develop strategies for mitigating the effects of climate change.
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Vol. 45 • No. 1