Sci Total Environ. 2023 Oct 29:168114. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.168114. Online ahead of print.
The evolution of insecticide resistance has been attributed to strong directional selection by lethal concentrations of insecticides, but there is growing evidence that sublethal doses may also modify resistance through the hormetic effects. Hormesis is a beneficial effect caused by exposure to low doses. However, the role of parental (transgenerational) effects on hormesis, and through that on insecticide resistance, is still unclear. We investigated the effects of several sublethal pyrethroid insecticide (Decis) doses on survival, body mass, and reproduction within four generations (F0, F1, F2, and F3) of the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata). We found that insecticide exposure had mostly linear adverse within-generation effects: decreased larva-to-adult survival, adult body mass, and egg hatching. However, transgenerational exposure led to hormetic effects: increased larva-to-adult survival and pre-diapause adult body mass. Moreover, transgenerational effects were even more positive for offspring exposed to insecticides, leading to decreased larva-to-adult survival, increased body mass, and egg hatching. Our results show that despite mostly negative within-generation effects, transgenerational sublethal exposure to insecticide can cause unwanted positive hormetic effects in their offspring, making them to resist or tolerate the insecticides better, even though the underlying mechanisms are still unclear.