Temperature is a key abiotic condition that limits the distributions of organisms, and forest insects are particularly sensitive to thermal extremes. Whereas winged adult insects generally are able to escape unfavorable temperatures, other less-vagile insects (e.g., larvae) must withstand local microclimatic conditions to survive. Here, we measured the thermal tolerance of the larvae of three saproxylic beetle species that are common inhabitants of coarse woody debris (CWD) in temperate forests of eastern North America: Lucanus elaphus Fabricius (Lucanidae), Dendroides canadensis Latreille (Pyrochroidae), and Odontotaenius disjunctus Illiger (Passalidae). We determined how their critical thermal maxima (CTmax) vary with body size (mass), and measured the thermal profiles of CWD representing the range of microhabitats occupied by these species. Average CTmax differed among the three species and increased with mass intraspecifically. However, mass was not a good predictor of thermal tolerance among species. Temperature ramp rate and time in captivity also influenced larval CTmax, but only for D. canadensis and L. elaphus respectively. Heating profiles within relatively dry CWD sometimes exceeded the CTmax of the beetle larvae, and deeper portions of CWD were generally cooler. Interspecific differences in CTmax were not fully explained by microhabitat association, but the results suggest that the distribution of some species within a forest can be affected by local thermal extremes. Understanding the responses of saproxylic beetle larvae to warming habitats will help predict shifts in community structure and ecosystem functioning in light of climate change and increasing habitat fragmentation.
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Annals of the Entomological Society of America
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 360 to 364
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Bumble bees are key pollinators with some species reared in captivity at a commercial scale, but with significant evidence of population declines and with alarming predictions of substantial impacts under climate change scenarios. While studies on the thermal biology of temperate bumble bees are still limited, they are entirely absent from the tropics where the effects of climate change are expected to be greater. Herein, we test whether bees' thermal tolerance decreases with elevation and whether the stable optimal conditions used in laboratory-reared colonies reduces their thermal tolerance. We assessed changes in the lower (CTMin) and upper (CTMax) critical thermal limits of four species at two elevations (2600 and 3600 m) in the Colombian Andes, examined the effect of body size, and evaluated the thermal tolerance of wild-caught and laboratory-reared individuals of Bombus pauloensis. We also compiled information on bumble bees' thermal limits and assessed potential predictors for broadscale patterns of variation. We found that CTMin decreased with increasing elevation, while CTMax was similar between elevations. CTMax was slightly higher (0.84°C) in laboratory-reared than in wild-caught bees while CTMin was similar, and CTMin decreased with increasing body size while CTMax did not. Latitude is a good predictor for CTMin while annual mean temperature, maximum and minimum temperatures of the warmest and coldest months are good predictors for both CTMin and CTMax. The stronger response in CTMin with increasing elevation, and similar CTMax, supports Brett's heat-invariant hypothesis, which has been documented in other taxa. Andean bumble bees appear to be about as heat tolerant as those from temperate areas, suggesting that other aspects besides temperature (e.g., water balance) might be more determinant environmental factors for these species. Laboratory-reared colonies are adequate surrogates for addressing questions on thermal tolerance and global warming impacts.more » « less
The Holocene, starting approximately 11.7 cal ka, is characterized by distinct periods of warming and cooling. Despite these known climate events, few temperature proxy data exist in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean. One potential record of past water temperatures is preserved in the marine fossil record. Shell growth of ocean quahogs ( Arctica islandica), a long-lived bivalve, can provide records of past environmental conditions. Arctica islandica habitat includes the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB), an area rapidly warming as a consequence of climate change. The Cold Pool, a bottom-trapped water mass on the outer continental shelf within the MAB, rarely rises above 15°C. Ocean quahogs inhabiting the MAB are confined to the Cold Pool as a consequence of an upper thermal limit for the species of ~15–16°C. Recently, dead A. islandica shells were discovered outside of the species’ present-day range, suggesting that the Cold Pool once extended further inshore than now observed. Shells collected off the Delmarva Peninsula were radiocarbon-dated to identify the timing of habitation and biogeographic range shifts. Dead shell ages range from 4400 to 60 cal BP, including ages representing four major Holocene cold events. Nearly absent from this record are shells from the intermittent warm periods. Radiocarbon ages indicate that ocean quahogs, contemporaneous with the present MAB populations, were living inshore of their present-day distribution during the past 200 years. This overlap suggests the initiation of a recent biogeographic range shift that occurred as a result of a regression of the Cold Pool following the Little Ice Age.more » « less
1. Critical thermal limits represent an important component of an organism's capacity to cope with future temperature changes. Understanding the drivers of variation in these traits may uncover patterns in physiological vulnerability to climate change. Local temperature extremes have emerged as a major driver of thermal limits, although their effects can be mediated by the exploitation of fine‐scale spatial variation in temperature through behavioural thermoregulation.
2. Here, we investigated thermal limits along elevation gradients within and between two cold‐water frog species (
Ascaphusspp.), one with a coastal distribution ( A. truei) and the other with a continental range ( A. montanus). We quantified thermal limits for over 700 tadpoles, representing multiple populations from each species. We combined local temporal and fine‐scale spatial temperature data to quantify local thermal landscapes (i.e., thermalscapes), including the opportunity for behavioural thermoregulation.
3. Lower thermal limits for either species could not be reached experimentally without the water freezing, suggesting that cold tolerance is <0.3°C. By contrast, upper thermal limits varied among populations, but this variation only reflected local temperature extremes in
A. montanus, perhaps as a consequence of the greater variation in stream temperatures across its range. Lastly, we found minimal fine‐scale spatial variability in temperature, suggesting limited opportunity for behavioural thermoregulation and thus increased vulnerability to warming for all populations.
4. By quantifying local thermalscapes, we uncovered different trends in the relative vulnerability of populations across elevation for each species. In
A. truei, physiological vulnerability decreased with elevation, whereas in A. montanus, all populations were equally physiologically vulnerable. These results highlight how similar environments can differentially shape physiological tolerance and patterns of vulnerability of species, and in turn impact their vulnerability to future warming.
Variation in temperature can affect the expression of a variety of important fitness‐related behaviours, including those involved with mate attraction and selection, with consequences for the coordination of mating across variable environments. We examined how temperature influences the expression of male mating signals and female mate preferences—as well as the relationship between how male signals and female mate preferences change across temperatures (signal–preference temperature coupling)—in
Enchenopa binotatatreehoppers. These small plant‐feeding insects communicate using plantborne vibrations, and our field surveys indicate they experience significant natural variation in temperature during the mating season. We tested for signal–preference temperature coupling in four populations of E. binotataby manipulating temperature in a controlled laboratory environment. We measured the frequency of male signals—the trait for which females show strongest preference—and female peak preference—the signal frequency most preferred by females—across a range of biologically relevant temperatures (18°C–36°C). We found a strong effect of temperature on both male signals and female preferences, which generated signal–preference temperature coupling within each population. Even in a population in which male signals mismatched female preferences, the temperature coupling reinforces predicted directional selection across all temperatures. Additionally, we found similar thermal sensitivity in signals and preferences across populations even though populations varied in the mean frequency of male signals and female peak preference. Together, these results suggest that temperature variation should not affect the action of sexual selection via female choice, but rather should reinforce stabilizing selection in populations with signal–preference matches, and directional selection in those with signal–preference mismatches. Finally, we do not predict that thermal variation will disrupt the coordination of mating in this species by generating signal–preference mismatches at thermal extremes.