To examine how the major elements of global change affect herbivory in agroecosystems, a multifactorial experiment was conducted where soybeans were grown at two levels of carbon dioxide and temperature, including those predicted for 2050, under otherwise normal field conditions. Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica Newman) were enclosed on foliage for 24 h, after which the beetle survivorship, total and per capita leaf consumption, and leaf protease inhibitor activity were measured. The direct effect of temperature on beetle consumption and survivorship also was measured under controlled environmental conditions. No differences in total foliage consumption were observed; however, beetles forced to feed at elevated temperature in the field demonstrated greater per capita consumption and reduced survivorship compared to beetles feeding at ambient temperature. Survivorship was also greater for beetles that consumed foliage grown under elevated CO2, but there were no interactive effects of CO2 and temperature, and no differences in leaf chemistry were resolved. Leaf consumption by beetles increased strongly with increasing temperature up to ∼37° C, above which increased mortality caused a precipitous decrease in consumption. An empirical model based on the temperature dependence of leaf consumption and flight suggests that the 3.5°C increase in temperature predicted for 2050 will increase the optimal feeding window for the Japanese beetle by 290%. Elevated temperature and CO2 operating independently have the potential to greatly increase foliage damage to soybean by chewing insects, such as Popillia japonica, potentially affecting crop yields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-523
Number of pages11
JournalInsect Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Carbon dioxide
  • FACE (free-air concentration enrichment)
  • Glycine max
  • Herbivory
  • Japanese beetles
  • Popillia japonica
  • Temperature dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Insect Science


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