Encapsulation and melanisation are innate immune reactions of insects against foreign intruders such as parasitoids. In an earlier study, we observed that immature life stages of the endoparasitoid Tranosema rostrale (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) parasitizing Choristoneura fumiferana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) larvae experienced higher mortality due to encapsulation and melanisation when reared at high (30 °C) than at lower (10 °C,
20 °C) temperatures. Downregulation of T. rostrale polydnavirus genes in parasitized hosts and up regulation of two genes involved in the spruce budworm’s melanisation process were identified as likely contributors to parasitoid mortality at high temperature. However, levels of transcripts of genes involved in the spruce budworm’s cellular encapsulation process were not measured inasmuch as candidate genes, in the spruce budworm,
had not yet been identified. In addition, our assessment of temperature-dependent encapsulation and melanisation of foreign objects in spruce budworm larvae was only partial. To fill these knowledge gaps, we injected Sephadex™ beads into unparasitized spruce budworm larvae and assessed their encapsulation/melanisation after the insects had been held at three different temperatures (10, 20, and 30 °C), and we identified spruce budworm genes putatively involved in the encapsulation process and quantified their transcripts at the same three temperatures, using a qPCR approach. As expected, both encapsulation and melanisation of Sephadex™ beads increased as a function of temperature. At the molecular level, three of the five genes examined (Integrin