Metabolism and cold tolerance of overwintering adult mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae): Evidence of facultative diapause?

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We sought evidence for a distinct diapause in adult overwintering mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) by measuring metabolic rate and supercooling ability of field collected beetles throughout the year. Metabolic rates measured at 0, 5, and10 °C declined significantly from October through November, then rose slowly, reaching levels as high as those recorded in October by late May. From December to February metabolic rates were not correlated with minimum weekly phloem temperatures (R2 = 0.0%, P = 0.592), but were correlated with phloem temperatures as winter advanced to spring (R2 = 44.8%, P = 0.010), a pattern consistent with progression through the maintenance and termination phases of diapause. Supercooling points were also significantly lower in winter compared to fall and spring (F(8,143) = 32.6, P < 0.001) and were closely correlated with metabolic rates (R2 > 79% for all three temperatures). Dry mass declined linearly with winter progression (F(8,150) = 8.34, P < 0.001), explained by catabolism of metabolic reserves, with a concomitant accumulation of metabolic water (F(8,147) = 35.24, P < 0.001). The strong mid-winter metabolic suppression correlated with improved supercooling ability, coupled with their lack of response to variation in environmental temperature, are evidence of possible diapause in adult overwintering mountain pine beetles.


This article was originally published in Journal of Insect Physiology. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Insect Physiology


Copyright © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd.