Cold hardiness of terrestrial mites at Signy Island, maritime Antarctic

(1) The cold hardiness of four species was studied in respect of supercooling ability, cryoprotective substances, chill-coma temperatures and survival under anaerobiosis. The effects of low temperature acclimation and starvation on cold hardiness were examined experimentally. (2) Mean supercooling points of field animals ranged from -6.1° to -28.8°C during Jan-Mar 1980. In Nanorchestes antarcticus (Strandtmann) and Alaskozetes antarcticus (Michael), a bimodal distribution of individual supercooling points occurred with the low group (LG) consisting of animals without gut nucleators. In Stereotydeus villosus (Trouessart) and Gamasellus racovitzai (Trouessart) only a high group (HG) was present in the supercooling-point distributions. (3) In all species, except the predatory G. racovitzai, starvation combined with low temperature exposure for various time periods lowered the mean supercooling point. This was associated with increased concentrations of glycerol in the body fluid. Glucose, ribitol and mannitol together with straight chain hydrocarbons were also detected in the extracts by GLC techniques. (4) Chill-coma temperatures varied from -4.5° to -8.0°C. (5) Under anoxia at 0°C, survival of A. antarcticus was greater than that of G. racovitzai, with the later nymphal stages being slightly more resistant than adults


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Authors: Block, William, Sømme, Lauritz

On this site: William Block
1 January, 1982
Oikos / 38
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