This is a very common problem and you will experience it everywhere you go. Every now and then the developers come up saying that they could not replicate a bug on their pc or the development environment.
As you asked for a rule of thumb, well a simple rule of thumb is to make a platform independent software platform independent. I agree with Niels van Reijmersdal in that Testing Environment should be similar to Production Environment and if something is working in Development Environment but not in Testing Environment you need to ask your development team to look for the dependency issue. Maybe the Development Environment is different than the Testing Environment and there is something on that platform which is causing something to not work.
For example, I always have developers and designers walk up to me saying that a certain web page design looks perfectly fine when they view it in responsive view using the browser tools in Chrome and FireFox. When I see the web page in actual device I find that the design is breaking so I report it and ask them to check whether the animation of JS or whatever it is they used really compatible with mobile devices. Yes it is not possible to check compatibility on every device in the world but we can make a list of supportable environments and check in them. And we need to make sure that the software is compatible in those environments and not in just one specific environment.
So again the rule of thumb is that the software is suppose to work in production environment and for that it is suppose to work in the identical test environment.
On a funnier note you can always tell your developers that we wont be delivering your system to the client or every user of the software will not be using it via your system. ;) :p
Happy Testing :)