Introduction: It has been suggested that rapid range expansion could proceed through evolution in the endocrinological machinery controlling life-history switches. Based on this we tested whether the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata, which has rapidly expanded its range across latitudinal regions in Europe, and shows photoperiodic adaptation in overwintering initiation, has different sensitivities to juvenile hormone (JH) manipulation along a latitudinal gradient. Results: A factorial experiment where beetles were reared either under a long or short day photoperiod was performed. Hormone levels were manipulated by topical applications. An allatostatin mimic, H17, was used to decrease and a juvenile hormone III analogue, pyriproxyfen, was used to increase the hormone levels. The effects of photoperiod and hormone manipulations on fecundity and overwintering related burrowing were monitored. Application of H17 decreased fecundity but did not induce overwintering related burrowing. Manipulation with pyriproxyfen increased fecundity and delayed burrowing. While small population-dependent differences in responsiveness to the topical application treatments were observed in fecundity, none were seen in overwintering related burrowing. Conclusions: The results indicate that the rapid photoperiodic adaptation manifested in several life-history and physiological traits in L. decemlineata in Europe is unlikely a result of population dependent differences in JH III sensitivity. While other endocrine factors cannot be ruled out, more likely mechanisms could be genetic changes in upstream elements, such as the photoperiodic clock or the insulin signaling pathway.
2015. Vol. 12, 20