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

gh 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."


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

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