The brown planthopper Nilaparvata lugens (Stål) is the most serious pest of rice across the world, especially in tropical climates. N. lugens nymphs and adults were exposed to high temperatures to determine their critical thermal maximum (CT(max)), heat coma temperature (HCT) and upper lethal temperature (ULT). Thermal tolerance values differed between developmental stages: nymphs were consistently less heat tolerant than adults. The mean (± SE) CT(max) of nymphs and adult females and males were 34.9±0.3, 37.0±0.2 and 37.4±0.2°C respectively, and for the HCT were 37.7±0.3, 43.5±0.4 and 42.0±0.4°C. The ULT(50) values (± SE) for nymphs and adults were 41.8±0.1 and 42.5±0.1°C respectively. The results indicate that nymphs of N. lugens are currently living at temperatures close to their upper thermal limits. Climate warming in tropical regions and occasional extreme high temperature events are likely to become important limiting factors affecting the survival and distribution of N. lugens.