Thermal acclimation is not induced by habitat-of-origin, maintenance temperature, or acute exposure to low or high temperatures in a pit-building wormlion (Vermileo sp.)

Michael A. Bar-Ziv, Inon Scharf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Wormlions are sit-and-wait insect predators that construct pit-traps to capture arthropod prey. They require loose soil and shelter from direct sun, both common in Mediterranean cities, and explaining their high abundance in urban habitats. We studied different aspects of thermal acclimation in wormlions. We compared chill-coma recovery time (CCRT) and heat-shock recovery time (HSRT) of wormlions from urban, semi-urban and natural habitats, expecting those originating from the urban habitat to be more heat tolerant and less cold tolerant. However, no differences were detected among the three habitats. We then examined whether maintenance temperature affects CCRT and HSRT, and expected beneficial acclimation. However, CCRT was unaffected by maintenance temperature, while temperature affected HSRT in an opposite direction to our prediction: wormlions maintained under the higher temperatures took longer to recover. When testing with two successive thermal shocks, wormlions took longer to recover from both cold and heat shock after applying an initial cold shock. We therefore conclude that cold shock inflicts some damage rather than induces acclimation. Finally, both cold- and heat-shocked wormlions constructed smaller pits than wormlions of a control group. Smaller pits probably translate to a lower likelihood of capturing prey and also limit the size of the prey, indicating a concrete cost of thermal shock. In summary, we found no evidence for thermal acclimation related either to the habitat-of-origin or to maintenance temperatures, but, rather, negative effects of unfavorable temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
Volume74
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • Antlion
  • Chill-coma recovery time
  • Trap-building predator
  • Urban ecology
  • Wormlion

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