›› 2015, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (4): 427-436.

• REVIEW ARTICLES • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Ecophysiological effects of heavy metals on insects

YANG Shi-Yong*, HUANG Yong-Jie, ZHANG Min, CHEN Zhu, XIE Jian-Chun   

  1. (School of Life Sciences, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, Anhui 241000, China)
  • Online:2015-04-20 Published:2015-04-20

Abstract: In this article the up-to-date progress of the ecophysiological effects of heavy metals on insects was reviewed, and the pitfalls concerning the ecophysiological studies of heavy metals on insects were also discussed. Short-term exposure to heavy metals may cause acute toxicity to insects, while chronic exposure probably results in adaptive evolution of insects to these inorganic materials. The toxicity of heavy metals is dependent on concentration, time of exposure and feeding patterns. The toxicity of heavy metals could also be transferred through prey-predator interaction. The physiological toxicity of heavy metals to insects includes decreased amount of energy materials in haemolymph and/or haemocytes, imbalance of redox state, suppression of cellular and/or humoral immunocompetence, and dis-integrity of insect cells and/or tissues. However, insects have developed physiological and ecological strategies to cope with the toxicity of heavy metals, e.g.,storage of heavy metals in specific tissues or organs, excretion of heavy metals through defecation and/or molting, induction of metal-detoxifying proteins and even development of local adaptation.

Key words: Insect, environmental pollution, heavy metal, ecophysiology, adaptive evolution, redox balance, insect immunity, energy material, pesticide resistance