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

, : Cold resistance in the lesser mealworm Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Cryo Letters 24(2): 111-118

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[degree]C), first instar larvae (-21.6[degree]C), last instar larvae (-15.5[degree]C), pupae (-1.6[degree]C), teneral adults (-12.0[degree]C) and mature adults (-13.1[degree]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[degree]C), (ii) higher SCP values in fed larvae (i.e. -14.7[degree]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.


PMID: 12819832

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