A method for the rapid measurement of thermal tolerance traits in studies of small insects

A technique for rapidly measuring non-lethal thermal tolerance traits in small insects and terrestrial arthropods of similar size is described. Single or multiple individuals are heated or cooled in an arena milled into a temperature-controlled aluminium block and their behaviour recorded continuously using a digital video camera. Data are collected retrospectively by playback of the stored images. To illustrate this technique measurement of six thermal tolerance traits using this method is described using first instar nymphs (body length = 0.66 mm) of the aphid Myzus persicae. These traits are high and low temperatures at which individual aphids cease walking, high and low temperatures at which aphids move for the final time, the temperature at which aphids begin to recover from chill coma, and the temperature at which they begin to walk again. The method is validated by comparing the results of multiple low temperature assays. No significant differences are detected between assays. Potential applications, limitations and technical problems are discussed.


Publication status:
Authors: Hazell, Steaphan P., Pedersen, Bolette P., Worland, M. Roger, Blackburn, Tim M., Bale, Jeffrey S.

On this site: Roger Worland
1 January, 2008
Physiological Entomology / 33
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