Impact of extreme temperatures on parasitoids in a climate change perspective

Annu Rev Entomol. 2007;52:107-26. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.52.110405.091333.


Parasitoids depend on a series of adaptations to the ecology and physiology of their hosts and host plants for survival and are thus likely highly susceptible to changes in environmental conditions. We analyze the effects of global warming and extreme temperatures on the life-history traits of parasitoids and interactions with their hosts. Adaptations of parasitoids to low temperatures are similar to those of most ectotherms, but these adaptations are constrained by the responses of their hosts. Life-history traits are affected by cold exposure, and extreme temperatures can reduce endosymbiont populations inside a parasitoid, eventually eliminating populations of endosymbionts that are susceptible to high temperatures. In several cases, divergences between the thermal preferences of the host and those of the parasitoid lead to a disruption of the temporal or geographical synchronization, increasing the risk of host outbreaks. A careful analysis on how host-parasitoid systems react to changes in temperature is needed so that researchers may predict and manage the consequences of global change at the ecosystem level.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Climate*
  • Food Chain
  • Geography
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / physiology
  • Insecta / parasitology
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Temperature*
  • Time Factors