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Volume 2012, Article ID 123405, 13 pages
Review Article

Temperature-Driven Models for Insect Development and Vital Thermal Requirements

Laboratory of Applied Zoology and Parasitology, Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece

Received 15 July 2011; Revised 9 September 2011; Accepted 11 September 2011

Academic Editor: Nikos T. Papadopoulos

Copyright © 2012 Petros Damos and Matilda Savopoulou-Soultani. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since 1730 when Reaumut introduced the concept of heat units, many methods of calculating thermal physiological time heat have been used to simulate the phenology of poikilothermic organisms in biological and agricultural sciences. Most of these models are grounded on the concept of the “law of total effective temperatures”, which abstracts the temperature responses of a particular species, in which a specific amount of thermal units should be accumulated above a temperature threshold, to complete a certain developmental event. However, the above temperature summation rule is valid within the species-specific temperature range of development and therefore several empirical linear and nonlinear regression models, including the derivation of the biophysical models as well, have been proposed to define these critical temperatures for development. Additionally, several statistical measures based on ordinary least squares instead of likelihoods, have been also proposed for parameter estimation and model comparison. Given the importance of predicting distribution of insects, for insect ecology and pest management, this article reviews representative temperature-driven models, heat accumulation systems and statistical model evaluation criteria, in an attempt to describe continuous and progressive improvement of the physiological time concept in current entomological science and to infer the ecological consequences for insect spatiotemporal arrangements.