The adults of Chrysopa harrisii Fitch, which are not predaceous, overwinter in a state of reproductive diapause. During both the dormant and the reproductive periods they remain dark green, a colour apparently adapted to the species’ occurrence on conifers. Two to three generations per season are possible in the Ithaca, N.Y., area.
At 75°F, which is the optimum constant temperature for development and survival, the time from oviposition to adult eclosion is 29 days. Theoretical thresholds for development of all stages are relatively high, between 50° and 57°F, and development from egg to adult requires 566 heat degree days.
In the laboratory, the critical photoperiod for diapause induction is between LD 13:11 and LD 14:10; short days maintain diapause for approximately 45 days (at 75°F); long days terminate diapause. Both newly-emerged and reproductively-active adults are extremely sensitive to diapause-inducing photoperiods. In the field, all adults emerging on 5 September or later enter diapause and it appears that diapause induction in the Ithaca population begins in the latter part of August. Short days maintain diapause until the end of December, and neither long days, increasing day lengths, nor low temperatures play a role in hastening diapause termination in nature.
In timing its vernal reproduction, C. harrisii has evolved a strategy that combines an early-ending diapause with an apparently relatively high temperature threshold for post-diapause development. Therefore, although diapause ends around the winter solstice, heat accumulation is prevented until much later, when temperatures are relatively high.