Factors affecting the freeze tolerance of the hoverfly Syrphus ribesii (Diptera: Syrphidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1998
Authors:A. J. Hart, Bale J. S.
Journal:Journal Of Insect Physiology
Keywords:Diptera, freeze tolerance, Syrphidae, Syrphus ribesii

Larvae of Syrphus ribesii collected from overwintering sites in the U.K. are strongly freeze tolerant with 70% survival at -35 degrees C. The cold tolerance of laboratory reared insects increased with increasing periods of acclimation at 0 degrees C, with a concurrent rise in the supercooling point (SCP) from -6.8 +/- 0.1 to -5.1 +/- 0.3 degrees C. There was 50% survival in the most cold-hardy group 72 h after brief exposures to -30 degrees C. The retention of gut contents caused a decrease in cold hardiness, with only 13% of larvae surviving 72 h after exposure to -15 degrees C, with no subsequent pupation or emergence. Wet larvae had a significantly higher SCP (-5.0 +/- 0.2 degrees C) compared to dry larvae (-7.8 +/- 0.4 degrees C), although survival of larvae was similar in both groups. There was no nucleator activity in the haemolymph of field collected larvae. The importance of these findings are discussed in relation to the freeze tolerance strategy of S. ribesii. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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