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:6/21/2016)... VANCOUVER, British Columbia , June 21, 2016 ... been appointed to the new role of principal ... has been named the director of customer development. ... , NuData,s chief technical officer. The moves reflect ... development teams in response to high customer demand ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... , June 15, 2016 ... market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global ... 2016 - 2024". According to the report, the  global ... billion in 2015 and is estimated to grow ... 48.56 billion by 2024.  Increasing application ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit ... includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution ... will result in greater convenience for SACU members ... maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... Dec. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - bioLytical Laboratories, a world leader in rapid infectious disease ... Kenya,s Pharmaceutical Association members. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161201/444905 ) ... ... , , ... Kenya Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) to introduce the INSTI HIV Self Test to 350 pharmacy ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... announced the appointment of Joshua F. Coleman , M.D., ... Coleman will oversee clinical content development and curation of scientific ... suite empowers molecular pathologists with a seamless workflow for the ... quality control through reporting. ... , , Prior ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Portage Biotech Inc. ... Exchange: PBT.U), is excited to announce the formation ... on developing preclinical ophthalmology assets through proof of ... anti-inflammatory created by Portage Pharmaceuticals Limited and being ... ocular surface and anterior segment diseases. This agent ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 30, 2016  The Allen Institute for Cell ... first publicly available collection of gene edited, fluorescently ... key cellular structures with unprecedented clarity. Distributed through ... tools are a crucial first step toward visualizing ... what makes human cells healthy and what goes ...
Breaking Biology Technology: