Navigation Links
Modern caterpillars feed at higher temperatures in response to climate change
Date:12/19/2013

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."


'/>"/>

Contact: Thania Benios
thania_benios@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Modern Mobility Aids, Inc. Announces a Revised Agreement for the Acquisition of Lumigene
2. Ancient whale species sheds new light on its modern relatives
3. Has modern science become dysfunctional?
4. Crime and punishment: The neurobiological roots of modern justice
5. Modern hybrid corn makes better use of nitrogen, study shows
6. Research: Modern Portfolio Theory optimizes conservation practices
7. Squid ink from Jurassic period identical to modern squid ink, U.Va. study shows
8. Woolly mammoth extinction has lessons for modern climate change
9. Fossil egg discovered in Lleida (Spain) links dinosaurs to modern birds
10. Modern culture 44,000 years ago
11. Treatment with fungi makes a modern violin sound like a Stradiavarius
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/28/2016)... Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a leading developer of human interface ... 31, 2015. --> --> ... percent compared to the comparable quarter last year to $470.5 million. ... million, or $0.93 per diluted share. --> ... of fiscal 2016 grew 9 percent over the prior year period ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... 22, 2016 ... of the  "Global Behavioral Biometric Market ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced ... Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced the ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... Jan. 20, 2016   MedNet Solutions , an ... spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce the ... achievements are the result of the company,s laser focus ... eClinical , it,s comprehensive, easy-to-use and highly affordable ... --> Key MedNet growth achievements in 2015 include: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... Feb. 4, 2016  Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... today that Edward Lanphier , Sangamo,s president and ... progress of Sangamo,s ZFP Therapeutic ® development programs ... 2:40 pm ET on Thursday, February 11, 2016, at ... Conference. The conference is being held in ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... N.J. , Feb. 4, 2016  CytoSorbents ... immunotherapy leader commercializing its flagship CytoSorb® blood filter ... surgery patients around the world, announced that CEO ... present at the Source Capital Group,s 2016 Disruptive ... update on the company.  Conference ...
(Date:2/4/2016)...  Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX ) -- an intellectual property ... intellectual property, today provided an update on the Company,s ... of Texas and announcing that ... Partes Re-examination ("IPR") proceedings that VTech and Uniden ... initiated on only certain claims of two of the ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... ... Many of the engineers at FireflySci, Inc. have been manufacturing quartz and ... other cuvette manufacturers is their supercharged customer service and their extensive database of glass ... flow of inside information, they have recently revamped their manufacturing techniques to reduce lead ...
Breaking Biology Technology: