High temperatures threaten the survival of insects, even if they live in the north

Insects cannot regulate their own body temperature, which is strongly influenced by indicators

environment. In a new study, scientists studied two species of dragonflies in Sweden. The goal is to understand their ability to adapt to climate change.

Scientists conducted field research in the southSweden, using technology that allows you to measure the body temperature of an object in vivo. This information was then linked to survival and reproductive rates of dragonflies in their natural populations.

Research results show thatthe survival rate of the studied species remains high at relatively low temperatures (15 - 20 ° C). At the same time, reproductive capacity increased at temperatures between 20 ° C and 30 ° C.

Images from an infrared camera show an increase in body temperature. Credit: Lund University.

“Thus, there is a temperature-dependentthe conflict between survival on the one hand and the ability to reproduce on the other, ”explains Erik Svensson, professor of biology at Lund University who led the study.

The experimental results also showed thatdragonflies are virtually unable to cope with heat stress. Insects are cold-blooded invertebrates and rely on external heat sources to raise their body temperature.

“Our results show that cold-bloodedanimals can suffer from overheating, even if they live far in the northern hemisphere, and that their ability to protect the body from rising ambient temperatures is limited. The results also cast doubt on the popular theory of phenotypic plasticity in animals that can help them survive in the harsh conditions of a changing environment, such as during global warming, ”concludes the author of the study.

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