A method for the rapid measurement of thermal tolerance traits in studies of small insects

Hazell, Steaphan P.; Pedersen, Bolette P.; Worland, M. Roger; Blackburn, Tim M.; Bale, Jeffrey S.. 2008 A method for the rapid measurement of thermal tolerance traits in studies of small insects. Physiological Entomology, 33 (4). 389-394.

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A technique for rapidly measuring non-lethal thermal tolerance traits in small insects and terrestrial arthropods of similar size is described. Single or multiple individuals are heated or cooled in an arena milled into a temperature-controlled aluminium block and their behaviour recorded continuously using a digital video camera. Data are collected retrospectively by playback of the stored images. To illustrate this technique measurement of six thermal tolerance traits using this method is described using first instar nymphs (body length = 0.66 mm) of the aphid Myzus persicae. These traits are high and low temperatures at which individual aphids cease walking, high and low temperatures at which aphids move for the final time, the temperature at which aphids begin to recover from chill coma, and the temperature at which they begin to walk again. The method is validated by comparing the results of multiple low temperature assays. No significant differences are detected between assays. Potential applications, limitations and technical problems are discussed.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Global Science in the Antarctic Context (2005-2009) > Biodiversity, Functions, Limits and Adaptation from Molecules to Ecosystems
ISSN: 0307-6962
Additional Keywords: Chill coma; chill coma recovery; CTmax; CTmin; heat coma; movement threshold; Myzus persicae
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Biology and Microbiology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 13 Jan 2011 14:28 +0 (UTC)

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