Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




FLORA AND FAUNA
Modern caterpillars feed at higher temperatures in response to climate change
by Staff Writers
Chapel Hill NC (SPX) Dec 27, 2013


File image.

Caterpillars of two species of butterflies in Colorado and California have evolved to feed rapidly at higher and at a broader range of temperatures in the past 40 years, suggesting that they are evolving quickly to cope with a hotter, more variable climate.

The work, led by Joel Kingsolver at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, represents a rare instance of how recent climate change affects physiological traits, such as the internal workings of how the body regulates feeding behavior.

"To our knowledge, this is the first instance where we show changes in physiological traits in response to recent climate change," said Kingsolver, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, whose work appears today in the journal Functional Ecology.

Caterpillars can only eat and grow when it's not too cold and not too hot, explained Kingsolver. But when temperatures are ideal, caterpillars eat with reckless abandon and can gain up to 20 percent of their body weight in an hour. That growth determines their ability to survive, how quickly they become adult butterflies and their ultimate reproductive success.

Jessica Higgins, a graduate student in Kingsolver's lab who spearheaded the study, worked with fellow graduate student Heidi MacLean, Lauren Buckley, currently at the University of Washington, and Kingsolver to compare modern caterpillars to their ancestors from 40 years ago. Their results show that the two related species of Colias (sulphur) butterflies have adapted in two ways:

+ broadened the range of ideal feeding temperatures

+ shifted their optimal feeding temperature to a higher one

In their work, the researchers measured changes in climate at the two study sites and then examined changes in the caterpillars feeding rates using current and historical data from the 1970s, collected by Kingsolver's graduate adviser Ward Watt.

Although they found little change in the average air temperature at both study sites, they noticed that the frequency of hot temperatures - that is, temperatures that exceeded 82 degrees Fahrenheit --increased two-fold in Colorado and four-fold in California over the past 40 years.

In response to these temperature fluctuations, modern caterpillars in Colorado ate faster at higher temperatures than their 1970s counterparts. In California, the modern caterpillars ate faster at both high and low temperatures than did their ancestors, but their optimal feeding temperatures did not change.

"These two species of caterpillars adapted to the increased frequency of higher temperatures over 40 years in two different ways, but both are better suited than their ancestors to thrive in a hotter, more variable climate," said Higgins. "Our climate is changing. The thermal physiology of these species is changing, too."

.


Related Links
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





UAV Payloads 2014, 24 - 25 June - London, UK
FLORA AND FAUNA
DNA of storied plant provides insight into the evolution of flowering plants
Philadelphia PA(SPX) Dec 27, 2013
The newly sequenced genome of the Amborella plant addresses Darwin's "abominable mystery" - the question of why flowers suddenly proliferated on Earth millions of years ago. The genome sequence sheds new light on a major event in the history of life on Earth: the origin of flowering plants, including all major food crop species. On 20 December 2013, a paper by the Amborella Genome Sequenc ... read more


FLORA AND FAUNA
Iran vows to restore glory of quake-hit Bam citadel

Hundreds of corpses unburied after Philippine typhoon

Brazil vows better flood alert systems

Christmas in mud as rain pelts Philippine disaster zone

FLORA AND FAUNA
New computer memory can hold data 20 years without power

Scientific data lost at alarming rate

Europe's Gaia telescope detaches from Fregat-MT upper stage

Sailing satellites into safe retirement

FLORA AND FAUNA
Los Angeles likely to score driest year since record-keeping began

Major reductions in seafloor marine life from climate change by 2100

World's biggest fish market set for new home

Deepwater Horizon NRDA study shows possible oil impact on dolphins

FLORA AND FAUNA
5,000 polar bears expected to be born around New Year's

Final amnestied foreign Greenpeace activist leaves Russia

Antarctic ship rescue set to start: authorities

Anxious wait for stranded Antarctic ship

FLORA AND FAUNA
To grow or to defend: How plants decide

Extinction risk prompts ban on fishing for caviar-producing sturgeon

The fate of the eels

Genetic discovery points the way to much bigger yields in tomato, other flowering food plants

FLORA AND FAUNA
6.6 magnitude Pacific quake, no tsunami threat: US geologists

Powerful cyclone bears down on western Australia

19,000 Indonesians flee erupting volcano

Flood displaces 18,000 in Indonesia

FLORA AND FAUNA
French defence minister in Africa's Sahel for security talks

S.Sudan president, rebel chief due in Ethiopia for peace talks: Addis Ababa

DR Congo arrests rebel leader accused of war crimes

Outside View: Memories of Mandela's Christmas in prison

FLORA AND FAUNA
What Does Compassion Sound Like?

Texting may be good for your health

Finnish research team reveals how emotions are mapped in the body

Brain connections may explain why girls mature faster




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement