This study examined the rate of cold hardening of a field population of Antarctic springtails and the effect of eating food with particular levels of ice nucleating activity on the animal's whole body freezing point. The SCPs of samples of c. 20, freshly collected, Cryptopygus antarcticus were measured hourly over a 32 hour collection period using differential scanning calorimetry and related to habitat temperature. The mean SCP of the springtails increased from 24 to 10°C during which time the habitat temperature warmed slowly from –2.5 to +2.5°C.In laboratory experiments, previously starved, cold tolerant springtails were fed on selected species of algae with measured SCP's but there was no clear correlation between the SCP of food and that of the animals after feeding. Microscopic examination of faecal pellets and guts from springtails showed that algal cells were completely destroyed during digestion.
Authors: Worland, M. Roger, Convey, Peter, Lukesova, Alena