Cold tolerance of micro-arthropods from Alaskan taiga
Mean supercooling points for a variety of soil and litter arthropods including mites, springtails, a heteropteran and immature spiders from a central Alaskan taiga site ranged from ‐6.3 to ‐28.5°C during autumn. Variation in supercooling ability of five species of cryptostigmatid mites occurred throughout the year with increased cold tolerance in autumn and early winter concomitant with the temperature pattern of the habitat. No correlation between the level of supercooling and water content of the mites was evident. Changes in the frequency distribution of individual supercooling points occurred in autumn, winter, spring and summer samples which were species specific. All arthropods tested were susceptible to freezing, and the mites utilize supercooling to avoid freezing.