A number of insect species infest human households and stored foods and products, leading to their designation as pests. Until recently, little was known about the factors driving the evolution of pests that feed on stored dry foods. Here, I review the effects of changes in climate and species interactions on the evolution and ecology of beetles that feed on dried seeds/grains. My review focuses on evidence that the host utilization by part of the species in the subfamily Bruchinae (Chrysomelidae) is a preadaptation for utilizing stored dry seeds and grains, thus leading to their status as a pest. These and other stored product pest beetles retain a higher percentage of water in their body, relative to the water content of their diet, than beetles that feed on fresh crops. I review the studies that have documented adaptation, acclimation and polyphenetic response to high temperatures and desiccation and/or made direct comparisons between these traits between developmental stages, populations and among higher taxonomic groups. Finally, I review evidence for the effects of environmental change on insect host-parasitoid and competitor assemblages.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Insect Science