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Free Content Cold resistance in the lesser mealworm Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera : Tenebrionidae)

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We have investigated cold resistance, measured by the supercooling point (SCP) temperature, in life stages of the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), collected in Brittany poultry houses. Mean SCP values drastically increased during the insect ontogeny: egg (-26.1°C), first instar larvae (-21.6°C), last instar larvae (-15.5°C), pupae (-1.6°C), teneral adults (-12.0°C) and mature adults (-13.1°C). Nymphal metamorphosis and adult maturation did not promote substantial decrease of freezing resistance. The SCP values reflect the physiological states of the developmental stages especially the absence of ice nucleating agents: (i) lower SCP values in egg and unfed newly-emerged larvae I (i.e. -25.1°C), (ii) higher SCP values in fed larvae (i.e. -14.7°C), pupae and adults most likely due to the presence of ice nucleation sites in the gut. A tropical species, A. diaperinus, seems not to use its potential cold hardiness even in winter to remain in this warm habitat in temperate regions.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: UMR 6553 CNRS, Université de Rennes I, Station Biologique, 35380 Paimpont, France

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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  • CryoLetters is a bimonthly international journal for low temperature sciences, including cryobiology, cryopreservation or vitrification of cells and tissues, chemical and physical aspects of freezing and drying, and studies involving ecology of cold environments, and cold adaptation

    The journal publishes original research reports, authoritative reviews, technical developments and commissioned book reviews of studies of the effects produced by low temperatures on a wide variety of scientific and technical processes, or those involving low temperature techniques in the investigation of physical, chemical, biological and ecological problems.

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